Murdoch taking stake in Alwaleed biz

Chris Forrester

Rupert Murdoch is reported to be taking an investment position in Prince Alwaleed bin Talalís music and films business, Rotana Media. The Wall Street Journal is saying that Murdoch is in talks to take a 20% stake in Rotana. The report seems well-founded, but it is not the first time that these two media giants have talked about mutual co-operation.

Some 10 years back Prince Alwaleed tried to involve News Corp (where he was and remains an investor) to participate in a larger Middle East role. The discussions came to nothing, but the wish seems to remain if this deal is to be believed. Indeed, if anything Alwaleedís media-related position in the Middle East today is stronger than ever. Either through Rotana or his overall holding company, Kingdom Holdings, he has investments in News Corp (5.7%), Time Warner, eBay and Apple. His portfolio of Arabic content is impressive, via movies, music, TV broadcasting stations (LBC, as well as the Rotana portfolio, and the Fox brands locally).

Prince Alwaleed remains close to Arab Radio & Television (ART) a major pay-TV broadcaster, and also controls LBC one of the Top 3 free-to-air broadcasters over the Middle East.