December 20, 2017 / 4:43 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Saudi sovereign fund chief says outlook for Uber is positive

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RIYADH, Dec 20 (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 was positive and the company’s revenues had doubled since the PIF invested in it.

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

The PIF, which has assets totalling 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 licence, 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 towards 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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