Saudi Arabia's Investment Fund Adds Disney and Facebook to Holdings

Daniel SLIM / AFP
An empty road leads into a deserted Disney resort due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kissimmee, Florida on May 5, 2020

The PIF bought more than 5 million shares in Disney, which it valued at just under $500 million, and more than 3 million shares in Facebook for $520 million.

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has acquired stakes in The Walt Disney Co., Facebook, Starbucks and other large U.S. public companies in the past few months. The fund disclosed the stakes in a regulatory filing Friday afternoon.

The PIF bought more than 5 million shares in Disney, which it valued at just under $500 million, and more than 3 million shares in Facebook for $520 million. The new acquisitions, which were bought on the public market, follow investments in two other companies hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic: Live Nation and Carnival Cruises.

The stakes in Disney and Facebook are small (just a fraction of one percent of each company's equity) but underscore the fund's desire to expand its U.S. presence, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.

The fund has been aggressively remaking its U.S. public holdings since the beginning of this year. Three months ago, the PIF reported stakes only in Tesla and Uber. Its latest filing shows that it has sold its stake in Tesla, while adding stakes in 23 new companies including IBM, Boeing, ADP Bank of America and Marriott, totaling nearly $8 billion. With its more than $2 billion stake in Uber factored in, the fund now has more than $10 billion in the U.S.equity market.

On May 7, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the PIF is interested in expanding its Hollywood holdings, with many private firms desperate for cash as the pandemic shut down much of the industry. The fund had approached Warner Music Group about an acquisition, among other deals, THR previously reported.

The filing on Friday only disclosed the fund's publicly held holdings.