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Massive Demand is Expected as Saudi Arabia Opens Public Cinemas

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Saudi Arabia will be opening the country’s first public movie theatre in more than a generation on April 18, 2018 in collaboration with AMC Entertainment, according to an announcement from the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information. Located in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), the cinema complex’s debut marks the signing of a definitive agreement between the U.S.-based cinema operator and the Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) newly-incorporated Development and Investment Entertainment Company (DIEC). Marvel’s “Black Panther” will be the first movie shown publicly.

Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on public cinemas last December as part of the kingdom’s grand Vision 2030 initiative to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon revenues and expand growth of a nascent entertainment industry, opening the doors for investment partnerships with foreign entertainment companies. In tandem with the lifting of the ban, the PIF signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AMC – the largest cinema operator by screens in the U.S., Europe and the world – to explore a wide range of commercial opportunities.

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RDIF and Makara Capital form Technology Company Investment Joint Venture

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Singapore-based Makara Capital, a specialist in transaction financing and asset management, signed a deal to form a US$ 200 million joint investment platform to finance breakthrough innovative projects in Russia and Asia. Ali Ijaz Ahmad, the CEO of Makara Capital, is a board director of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). Ali Ijaz Ahmad served as an adviser to Morgan Stanley and The Carlyle Group. He also had stints at the World bank and Goldman Sachs. Makara Capital was founded in 2005 as a joint venture with Credit Suisse AG and made independent by its founding partners in 2008.

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SVB Financial Group to Acquire Leerink Holdings

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Linking Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area in the world of pharmaceuticals, SVB Financial Group (SVB) announced that it has entered into a merger agreement to acquire Leerink Holdings LLC, the Boston-based parent company of Leerink Partners LLC, an investment bank focused on the healthcare and life science industries. Jeffrey A. Leerink formed Leerink in 1995. Santa Clara, California-based SVB Financial Group is the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank. SVB is big into life sciences and provides services to many healthcare companies and startups.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Digital Currencies Gaining Steam Among Central Banks

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At the Singapore Fintech Festival, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde noted that central banks should consider issuing digital currency, as non-cash payments increased over the years – especially in developed markets. Digital currencies, also known as cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin have lost tremendous value in recent months. Lagarde is referring to having the central bank issue digital currencies. Lagarde argued that a digital currency would be the liability of the state and not a private company. Saudi Arabia, China, Canada, Sweden, and even Uruguay have tinkered with possibly having digital currencies or some form. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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