December 20, 2017 / 4:40 PM / in 6 months

Saudi sovereign fund chief says outlook for Uber is positive

RIYADH (Reuters) - The head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, its top sovereign wealth fund, said on Wednesday that the outlook for ride-hailing firm Uber [UBER.UL] was positive and the company’s revenues had doubled since the PIF invested in it.

FILE PHOTO: A man arrives at the Uber offices in Queens, New York, U.S. on February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Yasir al-Rumayyan, speaking at a news conference, also said Uber’s new board and management were excellent.

The PIF, which has assets totaling over $220 billion, paid $3.5 billion for a stake in Uber in mid-2016, part of a financing round that valued the company at $62.5 billion.

Uber has suffered a series of blows this year, including the loss of its London license, the departure of executives amid controversies involving allegations of sexual harassment, and issues surrounding data privacy and business practices.

The European Union’s top court ruled on Wednesday that Uber should be classified as a transport service and regulated like other taxi operators.

The investment in Uber was part of a shift in the PIF’s strategy toward high-profile investments designed to boost its returns while securing technology and market share in strategic industries that help to develop the Saudi economy.

Reporting by Katie Paul and Rania El Gamal; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Adrian Croft

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