Skip to content

The Making of Saudi Inc.

How MBS has presided over the sovereign wealth fund’s oil-powered takeover.

Mohammed bin Salman during the opening ceremony of the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh in 2021.

Mohammed bin Salman during the opening ceremony of the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh in 2021.

Photographer: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

A few years from now, an American executive flying into Saudi Arabia could disembark from an airline founded by its sovereign wealth fund and order an Uber, a company in which the same fund owns a 4% stake. Whisked across the capital, the executive might check into a boutique hotel in a former palace, also owned by the Public Investment Fund.

Attending the PIF’s annual conference, they could sip coffee farmed through a venture led by the fund, then sign a deal with a PIF-owned defense firm. That evening, the executive might catch dinner and a movie at a complex developed by its entertainment arm, flying home without touching a single business not linked to the PIF.