Dubai ruler takes Sony stake

U.S. stock rises 4.2%

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai International Capital, an investment company owned by the ruler of this booming Persian Gulf city-state, has acquired a stake of undisclosed size in the Japanese electronics and media company Sony Corp.

Sony’s U.S. shares rose 4.2% in trading Monday morning following the announcement, gaining $2.05 to $51.13.

The purchase is the latest by Middle East investors who have become more aggressive in looking for investment opportunities overseas.

United Arab Emirates-based DIC described its investment in Sony as “substantial” in a statement posted on the company’s website, but did not provide a specific ownership percentage.

Sony spokesman Daichi Yamafuji confirmed Dubai International Capital’s purchase but refused to provide any other details.

“It’s the other party that acquired the stake and we decline to discuss any other details such as the number of shares involved,” he said.

The chief executive of Dubai International Capital, Sameer Al Ansari, said the investment in Sony, which owns consumer electronics, video game and movie businesses, was “consistent with our mandate of supporting premier global companies.”

“The combination of Sony’s truly global brand, its leadership in product design and its global footprint will spur the business’ medium term growth as it capitalizes on positive underlying trends and emerging technologies,” said Al Ansari in the company’s statement.

Dubai International Capital was established in 2004 and is owned by Dubai-ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It has made several other prominent investments this year, acquiring 9.9% of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, a U.S.-based alternative asset manager, and 3.12% of European Aeronautic Defence & Space, which builds Airbus commercial planes and military aircraft. The firm also holds stakes in Daimler and British bank HSBC Holdings.

Sovereign funds in the Middle East, like Dubai International Capital, have been building up their investments overseas recently, many of them on the back of rising oil prices that have brought the region record cash flows.

Many companies have welcomed such investments because the funds tend to be stable investors, but some countries like the U.S. have expressed concern that their acquisitions could target sensitive industries with links to national security.

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