Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

News Corp Eyes 20% of Rotana, Following Yahoo to Middle East

The Middle East is hot, and global media companies are keen to grab a piece of its rapidly growing media market.

Fast on the heels of Yahoo's acquisition of, News Corp is seeking a 20% stake in Rotana Media, a Saudi-based media and entertainment giant, reports the Wall Street Journal.

This is the second major Middle East media deal in one week.

But in many ways, it is no surprise. Kingdom Holding Company, controlled by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and owner of Rotana, already owns 5.7% of News Corp. Rotana broadcasts two Fox-branded channels (Fox Movies and Fox Series) in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, James Murdoch made a high-profile visit the Gulf exploring partnerships with major Middle East media firms. His trip included meetings with Prince Al-Waleed to discuss future collaborations.

Now we see the fruit of those meetings. News Corp's first big Middle East investment.

While Yahoo's tie-up with was a purely digital play, Rotana's media assets include a TV network, a library of over 2,000 Arab movie titles, a production company, record label, music channel, and hotel chain.

First Yahoo, now News Corp. There will be more deals to come as Big Media identifies other opportunities in this young, booming Middle East market.

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