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Saudi wealth funds exploring asset sales

|By Arabian Post Staff|Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is considering selling stakes in local companies to raise funds for international expansion, Bloomberg reported quoting people with knowledge of the matter.
The Public Investment Fund — with about $100 billion worth of shares in listed local companies including Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Saudi Telecom Co. — is reviewing the stakes as it seeks to diversify its assets, Bloomberg said.
The fund could reduce its holdings in local companies and retain control through measures such as golden shares, the report added.
Saudi Arabia is planning to expand its sovereign wealth fund into the world’s largest by transferring ownership of Saudi Aramco to the PIF and also the proceeds from the oil company’s initial public offering. The fund could eventually control more than $2 trillion, according to Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and plans to increase the proportion of its foreign investments to 50 percent by 2020, up from 5 percent now.
The PIF in October said it is partnering with SoftBank Group Corp. to form a new fund to invest as much as $100 billion in the global technology industry in the next five years. Earlier this year it made its highest-profile overseas deal to date when it invested $3.5 billion in in U.S. ride-share company Uber Technologies Inc. PIF managing director Yasir Alrumayyan will take a board seat at the San Francisco-based company.
Ahead of the possible assets sales, the PIF is also seeking to take on a more active role in the companies where it holds stakes, according to two of the people. It will be more involved in picking senior management and setting strategy, moving from its role as a more passive investor, Bloomberg quoted people as saying.