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Media group MBC expects to go public in the coming months, says CEO

DUBAI, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabian media giant MBC Group plans to hold an initial public offering (IPO) in the coming months, Chief Executive Sam Barnett said on Tuesday.

MBC plans to list 10% of its share capital on the Saudi stock exchange, MBC said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“We’re not entirely sure about the timing,” Barnett said. “I understand the process will be rolled out in the coming weeks, but I expect this will be the case in the coming months.”

Barnett added that the share price would continue to move through the bookbuilding process, but did not provide further details.

The IPO was approved by the Kingdom’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) earlier on Tuesday. The authority did not give an expected date for the IPO, but the approval is only valid for six months.

The company is split between state-owned Al Istedamah Holding, which owns a 60% stake, and MBC founder and chairman Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, who owns the remaining 40%. A senior government official previously confirmed that the Finance Ministry owns Istedamah.

“The two respective shareholders will be diluted in proportion to their shares,” Barnett said. “Neither of them is selling shares, this money goes into the company.”

Proceeds from the IPO are expected to go towards repaying outstanding debt, improving liquidity and investing in the company’s online streaming platform Shahid, as well as new initiatives.

Barnett said there was interest from both foreign institutional investors and local investors.

“I think what people find interesting is that we’re a pretty unique offering,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has seen numerous initial public offerings in recent years as part of broader plans to deepen capital markets, grow the private sector and attract investment.

Reporting by Pesha Magid. Editing by David Goodman

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