The Saudi Arabian government has purchased a sizable amount of Live Nation (LYV) stock as the entertainment giant continues recover from the pandemic-induced market meltdown it faced last month. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund bought $500 million in shares, giving the government roughly a 5.7 percent stake in the company.
The move earned the sovereign wealth fund over 12.3 million shares and makes Saudi Arabia the third-largest stakeholder of Live Nation. It also sent the struggling stock on an upward swing in the markets. Following news of the Saudi investment on Monday, Live Nation shares rose nearly 10 percent to close at $42.01.
However, the global events empire is still navigating financial turmoil as COVID-19 has effectively halted concerts and sporting events in the short term and health experts caution the public may not be able to experience mass gatherings until next year. Live Nation stock remains down 40 percent from last year with the industry at an abrupt standstill. In response, the company is taking drastic measures to keep operations running, including 50 percent pay cuts for top executives and CEO Michael Rapino forgoing his annual salary, plus increasing the company’s total liquidity.
On top of their financial outlook, Live Nation was hit with a number of lawsuits recently as concert and sports fans alike fumed over a lack of refunds for their postponed or unplayed events. Severe backlash from subsidiary Ticketmaster’s refund policy resulted in the parent company rolling out a revised program.
Live Nation is the latest hard-hit company that has piqued the interest of the Saudi government. Earlier this month, the Public Investment Fund purchased an 8.2 percent stake in cruise operator Carnival Corp while the travel industry is largely halted. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has established more than $300 billion in assets to date.