With an eye on the future and as part of its economic diversification, Saudi Arabia has recently been investing in technology-based companies.
One such firm is the US ride-hailing company, Uber. In 2016, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the Saudi sovereign wealth fund – invested $3.5 billion in Uber directly, securing a 5.6 percent share.
Later, the PIF invested $45 billion in SoftBank’s $93 billion Vision Fund, which is Uber’s largest investor, making the company a major beneficiary of Saudi funding.
Saudi Arabia is also one of the key markets for Uber in the Middle East.
The Vision Fund in January this year led a $9 billion funding round in Uber, ending up owning 17.5 percent of the company. At that time Uber share was estimated to be worth $33 and the worth of the company was valued at $62 billion.
It is estimated that at present the Saudi share in Uber – through its direct investment and the SoftBank stake – is around 14 percent.
Uber has plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange next year and experts say the company could target a valuation of $120 billion. If that target is achieved, the Saudi share could be worth around $16 billion.
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