Last updated on March 11th, 2019
Referring to the hardships faced by women in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) once promised equality and progress as he enthroned. The ode decertified male guardianship, among other changes, giving the world a reason to celebrate the transformation of the oil-rich Gulf nation.
Joining the same alliance at the time last year was, Ariel Emanuel, the chief executive of the talent agency, Endeavor. Hypothecating growth, Emanuel signed a deal worth $400 million with the nation’s government investment fund. The amount was allotted to tap the untouched resources in sports, events, modeling, and television and film production.
However, the progress hit the rock-bottom within months after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside Istanbul’s Saudi Consulate. The incident sparked a worldwide outrage against the Kingdom. Over five months since the unfortunate murder, and CIA’s conclusion of Saudi Prince MbS ordering it, the firm has cut all its ties with Saudi Arabia.
Last year, during MbS’ United States tour, the young leader bagged deals with the movie theater company AMC. He also closed a deal with amusement-park operator, Six Flags, to expand into Saudi Arabia.
But the Endeavor investment deal, to uplift the nation’s entertainment sector, has now slipped out of Saudi Prince MbS’ hands.
As non-renewable resources radically extinguish, Crown Prince has worked to use the investment fund in a way that fosters nation’s needs. For that to happen, the definition of wealth fund has to come true, which is solely based on surplus from oil.
As a fact, the Kingdom is already running deficits because of poor-oil prices, with the international ties being shunned.
Covertly, Emanuel even informed the Saudi officials that he intended to return the investment amount $400 million. Worried about his fate, the chief executive even traveled with the bodyguards at times, according to the sources. He approached investors, including those who had invested in his company to fill the gap as he returned back the money, according to the two people, of which one already is an Endeavor investor.
The process only took a few weeks, and the company successfully paid $400 million back to Saudi Arabia. Apart from Endeavor, Virgin Galatic also suspended Gulf state’s $1billion investment, post murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Undermining the need of the hour to improvise, Saudi is still full of air and thinks that it can easily accomplish what it wants. “People still want sovereign wealth fund money,” Michael Maduell, the President of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute said, showcasing confidence despite continuous claims to abandon ties with the nation.
Nevertheless, with all aims covertly linked to increasing the value of Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Endeavor case only adds ‘salt into the already existing wounds’ of the Gulf nation.