Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has been key Murdoch ally

News Corp. has upped its stake in Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s media company Rotana Group to nearly 19% from 14.5% as the two companies continue to strengthen their ties.

Bin Talal is the second largest individual investor in News Corp. after the Murdoch family with about 7% of the conglom. Bin Talal has been a close ally of Murdoch, defending the mogul last summer as the phone hacking scandal exploded in the U.K. He’s one of the world’s richest men and the wealthiest in Saudi Arabia. His key investment vehicle Kingdom Holding has as range of assets including stakes in Citigroup, Apple and the Four Seasons Hotels.

News Corp. upped its stake in Rotana to 14.35% last year. It will pay $35 million for the newly issued shares.

Rotana owns a record label and is a major presence in the Arab world in film, television, radio and publishing.

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