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.


‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

Updated 24 May 2019
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‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

  • A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide”
  • Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers

YANGON: Myanmar must “show results” to convince Rohingya refugees to return, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Friday at the end of his first visit to Myanmar since the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
A brutal military campaign in western Rakhine state forced some 740,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh.
Around one million Rohingya now languish in sprawling refugee camps from various waves of persecution.
A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide” and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has started preliminary investigations.
During his visit Grandi spoke with both Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist communities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung in northern Rakhine, the epicenter of the violence.
He also held discussions with officials in capital Naypyidaw, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, describing all talks as “constructive.”
“My message is: ‘please accelerate’, because it has been very slow in the implementation in this first year. We need to show results,” he told AFP in an interview in Yangon.
“This is not enough to convince people to come back,” he said.
Grandi visited the camps in Bangladesh in April.
The two countries have signed a repatriation agreement but so far virtually no refugees have returned, fearing for their safety and unconvinced they will be granted citizenship.
Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers and the community has had its rights eroded over decades.
Gaining independent access to northern Rakhine is difficult with most journalists, observers and diplomats only allowed on brief chaperoned visits.
Grandi defended the UNHCR’s involvement in a plan by the Bangladeshi government to move some 100,000 refugees onto low-lying island Bhashan Char.
The area in the Bay of Bengal is prone to flooding and cyclones.
Rights groups oppose the scheme that has also so far been universally rejected by the Rohingya themselves.
The refugee agency must be “involved” to have the necessary information in order to take a stance on the issue, Grandi said.
“We’re still at that stage, no more than that.”
He also visited camps near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, where nearly 130,000 Rohingya have been confined since a previous bout of violence in 2012.
Myanmar has announced it will close the camps but many are skeptical the displaced will enjoy more freedoms.
Grandi said the UNHCR would reconsider its role in providing services if conditions did not substantially improve.
“To simply transform the camps, upgrade the camps, upgrade the houses, for example, but leave them in the same situation will not be a solution,” he said.