Saudi Research and Marketing Group acquires stake in financial media service Argaam

Updated 18 October 2017
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Saudi Research and Marketing Group acquires stake in financial media service Argaam

LONDON: The Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) has acquired a controlling stake in the Argaam Investment and Trading Company, which publishes an online financial news service.
Argaam owns Argaam.com, which provides real-time updates on financial markets and macroeconomic trends in Saudi Arabia. It also owns the news portal Akhbaar24.com.
SRMG Chairman Prince Badr bin Abdullah Al-Saud said the acquisition will help pave the way to a “brighter future” for the digital content industry in Saudi Arabia.
The deal forms part plans by SRMG, the publisher of Arab News, to expand its range of specialized content.
“The acquisition of one of the most important economic websites in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world is a continuation of the group’s strategy to expand its specialized content portfolios in the world of finance, business, market economics and different media platforms,” said Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, managing director and chief executive of SRMG.
The acquisition also reflects an anticipated rise in demand for information on Saudi Arabia’s economy and financial markets as the country ramps up non-oil growth and diversifies its economy under its Vision 2030 strategy.
Saudi Arabian data has become a “strategic commodity” for potential investors weighing their options on how to invest in the Kingdom, Al-Shibl said in a statement.
SRMG secured its 51 percent stake for SR37.5 million ($10 million), according to a statement from the company. The deal is self-funded and will be paid in cash after formal procedures are finalized. Ownership is expected to be completed by Oct. 24, pending final regulatory approvals.
The acquisition follows news last month that SRMG signed a deal with the New York-headquartered news conglomerate Bloomberg to launch Bloomberg Al Arabiya — a new multi-platform Arabic-language business and financial news service.
Under the agreement, SRMG will publish Bloomberg Businessweek magazine in Arabic as well as producing a 24/7 television and radio network. The Bloomberg Al Arabiya team will be headquartered in the Gulf, and managed by SRMG with support from Bloomberg.
“The Middle East is an important, economically diverse region and our agreement with SRMG allows us to deliver the sharpest global business and financial insights to a critical audience of business decision makers,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former mayor of New York City in September.


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

  • Broadcast of political messages in coverage forbidden, analyst confirms.
  • Saudi football federation urges FIFA to sanction the Doha-owned channel.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.