SRMG acquires controlling stake in Saudi financial news service Argaam

Updated 18 October 2017
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SRMG acquires controlling stake in Saudi financial news 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.


Egyptian singer Sherine banned after claiming lack of free speech

Updated 1 min 30 sec ago
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Egyptian singer Sherine banned after claiming lack of free speech

  • The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of “The Voice,” apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking
  • Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted

CAIRO: An Egyptian singer has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech.
A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying: “Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.”
Egypt’s Musicians Union responded late Friday by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.
Samir Sabry, a pro-government lawyer with a reputation for moral vigilantism and suing celebrities, filed a complaint against the singer accusing her of “insulting Egypt and inviting suspicious rights groups to interfere in Egypt’s affairs.”
Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted. The sentence was suspended upon appeal. She apologized for the remark, calling it a “bad joke.”
The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of “The Voice,” apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking.
“I am very tired. I made a mistake. I am sorry. I appeal the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is our father. I feel that I was persecuted. I did nothing. I love Egypt,” she said.
Egyptian authorities have waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi led the military overthrow of Mohammed Mursi in 2013. The local media is dominated by pro-government outlets that attack anyone seen as criticizing the country or its leaders, and several people have been jailed or fined for violating vaguely written laws outlawing such criticism.