In April of 2020, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased a $500 million stake in Live Nation. This investment has since doubled in value, to an over $1 billion interest in the Ticketmaster parent company based upon LYV’s closing price today.
News of Saudi Arabia’s half-billion-dollar Live Nation holding began circulating in late April of last year, and a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing indicates that the corresponding transaction occurred specifically on Thursday, April 16th. At the time, the Beverly Hills-based concert promoter’s stock price was down substantially from its pre-COVID worth, at approximately $40 per share. Before that, during the pandemic’s domestic onset, LYV shares had dipped as low as $21.70 each.
Via its Public Investment Fund, the government of Saudi Arabia in April acquired 12,337,569 LYV shares, or 5.7 percent of the company. For reference, SiriusXM majority stakeholder Liberty Media currently owns nearly 33 percent of Live Nation, against 5.84 percent for the Pennsylvania-based Vanguard Group and 5.44 percent for New York City-headquartered BlackRock, per The Motley Fool.
Factoring for the $500 million total purchase price, Saudi Arabia secured the close to six percent piece of Live Nation at a per-share price of about $40.53. (The stock jumped past $43 per share once news of the Middle Eastern nation’s investment broke, though.) Yesterday, LYV reached an all-time-high price of $86.67, and when the market closed today, the stock was worth $84.86 per share.
At the latter price – almost $20 higher than LYV’s value when February began, $67.56 or so – Saudi Arabia’s 12,337,569 shares are worth a cumulative total of $1.044 billion. Plus, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund now holds 12,565,167 Live Nation shares, according to its NASDAQ investor profile, meaning that the present stake’s total value comes out to $1.066 billion. (It’s unclear when exactly these approximately 227,000 additional shares were added onto the initial transaction’s roughly 12.34 million shares, however.)
Needless to say, Saudi Arabia’s Live Nation investment appears to suggest that the nation of about 34 million intends to further develop its entertainment space once the pandemic is in the rearview. As an aside, the Public Investment Fund also possesses a $4.4 billion Uber stake, $1.53 billion in Activision Blizzard, $1.08 billion in Electronic Arts, and $778.43 million in Take-Two Interactive, with the figures reflecting today’s closing values. The latter three companies are the largest publicly traded video game studios in the world.
Earlier this week, Warner Music Group confirmed that it would make a multimillion-dollar investment in Riyadh-based Rotana Music, the Arab world’s leading independent record label. And last month, Sony Music restructured and bolstered its operations in Asia and the Middle East.