Saudi sovereign fund eyes $500m investment in Hollywood agency

The funds would be used to help WME, agency of actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, expand its operations

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is reportedly in talks to buy a stake in the holding company of Hollywood talent agency WME.

Bloomberg cited sources as confirming preliminary discussions had taken place to invest $500m in Endeavor.

The funds would be used to help the agency of actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon expand its operations, according to the publication.

The stake could range between 5 and 10 per cent but the final size and valuation is still being negotiated. Endeavor was valued at $6.3bn including debt when it raised money in August.

Existing investors include Silver Lake, SoftBank Group Corp., Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

On top of WME, Endeavor owns Professional Bull Riders, the Miss Universe organisation and sports and fashion company IMG.

It also acquired mixed martial arts company Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2016.

The talks come following the end of a decades-long ban on cinemas in Saudi Arabia.

Films are for now being shown in temporary venues until the first dedicated cinemas are opened in March. The kingdom is aiming to reach more than 300 cinemas by 2030.

Read: Saudi Arabia begins screening films after lifting of cinema ban

The Public Investment Fund is exploring a cinema venture with US-based movie exhibition company AMC Entertainment Holdings after launching a SAR10bn ($2.67bn) entertainment investment firm last year.

Read: Saudi sovereign fund plans cinema venture

Read: Saudi sovereign fund PIF launches SAR10bn entertainment investment firm