Middle Easterners Ready to Pounce on U.S. Media
On Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority gave the writedown-plagued Citi a $7.5 billion cash injection. On Monday, the government of Dubai announced a nearly 5% stake in Sony (SNE). And earlier this year, Abu Dhabi put $7.5 billion into private equity firm Carlyle Group.
But foreign investments in U.S. companies have drawn the ire of lawmakers concerned about maintaining the integrity of U.S. infrastructure.
Sen. Charles Schumer, (D., New York) has been one of the most vocal leaders warning of the perils of foreign investments. In the summer, Schumer asked for a tough review of Borse Dubai in the Nasdaq Stock Market and was also critical of a Chinese government fund's $3 billion investment in the Blackstone Group (BX), prior to the private equity firm's initial public offering.
Lately, however, lawmakers have appeared more open to what has been a series of minority stake investments by foreigners, including Abu Dhabi's recent purchase of preferred shares in Citi, which represents a 4.9% stake. The Abu Dhabi investment arm is estimated to have over $1 trillion available for investment.Still, foreign investment in media is not without other challenges and would be sure to raise eyebrows domestically. "There is a much higher degree of awareness there that U.S. media can affect non-U.S. interests in a direct way," Blumberg said, referring to some of his contacts' and clients' unfavorable perception of the U.S. media's coverage of the botched deal for Dubai to buy U.S. ports in 2006.
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