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Middle Easterners Ready to Pounce on U.S. Media

Middle Eastern investors are interested in more than just plowing money into U.S. financial firms such as Citigroup (C). They're looking to break into the U.S. media arena, normally the domain of heavy hitters including Rupert Murdoch.

Commercial real estate investment firm Blumberg Capital Partners is planning to launch its first fund to invest in U.S. media companies, and its investor base will consist of Middle East-based entities, TheStreet.com has learned.

The fund, for which CEO Philip Blumberg says there is interest amounting to at least $500 million, would target newspapers as well as Hollywood movie studios, online media outfits, broadcast news and possibly radio businesses. Including the use of leverage, the fund will have buying power of approximately $1.5 billion and could kick off by the second quarter next year, Blumberg says.

Philip Blumberg has nurtured the idea of a fund to invest in U.S. media for about a year -- a notion sparked in large part by existing real estate clients in investment hotbeds like oil-rich United Arab Emirate states Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which have expressed a desire to own Western media and entertainment companies.

"There is a high degree of interest in U.S. entertainment in the Middle East," says Blumberg.

The interest in U.S. media firms from the Middle East comes as foreign investors take advantage of a deflated U.S. dollar to buy into cash-strapped U.S. entities or firms that appear cheap. Investors in the Middle East are rich from global growth and demand for oil, which has sent the price of a barrel to hover near $100. The inflation-adjusted record oil price, according to some analysts, is $102, reached in 1979.

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