News Corp snaps up $70m Rotana stake

Saudi-based entertainment firm Rotana said it agreed to sell a $70m stake in the Rotana Group to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, a move aimed at boosting the firm’s foothold in the media industry.

“News Corp has reached an agreement to buy a 9.09 percent stake in Rotana Group,” Rotana said in a statement on Tuesday.

The US firm has an option to raise its stake to 18.18 percent in the 18 months following completion, it said in the statement.

“This is a qualitative leap not just for Rotana but for the whole Arab world,” the firm’s chairman, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, told a press conference.

“We are set to gain deep experience from News Corp… on television, movie production and technology,” he said.

“They own MySpace… We can learn from this, the new media field,” Alwaleed added.

Rotana owns the Arab world’s largest record label and operates 11 television channels, two of which are are under a partnership with Fox News.

In September, the Wall Street Journal said News Corp was eyeing a 20 percent stake in Rotana, citing people familiar with the deal.

Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Co owns nearly 7 percent of News Corp, and a 4.2 percent stake in Citigroup .

Rotana will appoint within two months an adviser to help it select a stock exchange for its listing, he said.

//ARABIAN BUSINESS

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