Saudi fund PIF looking for stake in Six Flags, says report

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), is reported to be in talks to invest in the American theme park operator Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the largest of its kind in the world.

As reported by Bloomberg, the deliberations about a possible investment are at an early and follows after started talks to let Six Flags to open its theme parks in the Kingdom.

Potential park locations in Saudi Arabia include Riyadh, Jeddah and Red Sea resort, Chairman James Reid-Anderson had said in November last year.

Led by Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the sovereign wealth fund is one of the main vehicles at the forefront of diversifying and transforming the Kingdom’s economy from its reliance on oil.

PIF was created in 1971 and now has a portfolio of 200 investments, one of them being the ride-sharing service Uber, and looks to be a vital part of the Deputy Crown Prince’s national transformation plan.

In June last year, Al Arabiya News Channel had reported about the meeting between Salman and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation President and CEO John M. Duffey and that the latter was set to open up investments in Saudi Arabia.

During the visit to US, Salman had he met with American officials, including then US President Barack Obama, and also with technology giants in Silicon Valley about further investments.

Duffey had said the company was “proud to enter this agreement to provide entertainment facilities” for the kingdom.

In his statement, Duffey had also emphasized the importance of bringing entertainment facilities to citizens as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

“We share Saudi Arabia’s vision to bringing entertainment to the country. We share the same vision with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and are prepared to providing multiple options in a bid to translate that vision into reality,” he added.

Early this year, Al Arabiya English had also interviewed the CEO of the Saudi Entertainment commission, Eng. Amr al-Madani, who confirmed that 2017 will be the year of entertainment for the Saudis.

“Huge projects like Six Flags need a lot of time. However, there is rapid growth in the Kingdom. Investors from all around the world are coming to Saudi Arabia. We need to have clear laws and a fertile investment environment. We have a young generation that seeks to invest their time in a good way. For example, the reason why Six Flags planned to come to the Kingdom, was due to the economic model that is perfect. We are happy to have investors rushing to the Kingdom and we need to have a developed system whether on the level of licenses or mechanisms that preserve the right of the beneficiary in a greater way. This is the main role of the Entertainment Commission,” Madani said.

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