Saudi’s PIF marks Tesla as its latest high-profile bet

DUBAISaudi Arabia’s purchase of a stake of about US$2 billion (RM8.14 billion) in Tesla Inc is only the latest high-profile investment by its sovereign wealth fund since 2016.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) built up less than 5% stake in the electric carmaker in recent months, according to a person familiar with the matter, just as Elon Musk considers taking the company private. PIF’s move comes as it seeks to turn into a US$2 trillion powerhouse and help diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy. Here’s a selection of PIF’s recent investments and holdings:

Uber

PIF invested US$3.5 billion in US rideshare company Uber Technologies Inc in June 2016.

PIF MD Yasir Al-Rumayyan took a board seat at the San Franciscobased company after the deal, which valued Uber at US$62.5 billion. At the time it was the biggest infusion of cash into Uber from a single investor.

Virgin

The fund announced plans in October 2017 to invest about US$1 billion in Virgin Group’s space companies, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Co and Virgin Orbit. PIF also holds an option to invest an additional US$480 million in Virgin’s space services.

Saudi Arabia plans to support the ventures’ plans for human spaceflight and launching satellites into orbit, and may cooperate with Virgin to create a space-centric entertainment industry in the country.

Blackstone funds

PIF agreed to commit US$20 billion in May 2017 to an infrastructure investment fund with Blackstone Group LP, the world’s biggest private-equity manager.

Blackstone plans to raise the same amount from other investors and with leverage, the New York-based asset manager expects to have more than US$100 billion in purchasing power for infrastructure projects, primarily in the US.

SoftBank

Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp announced the first close of an almost US$100 billion technology fund, the largest ever, in May 2017 secured from backers led by PIF and the Japanese company.

PIF didn’t disclose the size of its investment, but Crown Prince Mohammed Salman said he might invest up to US$45 billion in the fund over five years. Apple Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Foxconn Technology Group and Sharp Corp also put in capital.

Separately, PIF also owns stakes in some of Saudi Arabia’s biggest companies on behalf of the government, which include Saudi Basic Industries Corp, Saudi Basic Industries Corp, Saudi Telecom Co, National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabian Mining Co and Samba Financial Group. — Bloomberg