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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.

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