Cross-border Majority Investments of GCC Sovereign Wealth Funds: a Threat for the Economy?
Jeanne Amar  1@  , Christelle Lecourt  2@  , Jean-François Carpantier@
1 : Centre d'Études et de Recherche en Gestion d'Aix-Marseille  (CERGAM)  -  Site web
Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III : EA4225
Clos Guiot Puyricard - CS 30063 - 13089 Aix en Provence Cedex 2 -  France
2 : Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative dÁix-Marseille  (GREQAM)  -  Site web
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales : UMR7316, Aix Marseille Université : UMR7316, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique : UMR7316
Centre de la Charité, 2 rue de la Charité, 13236 Marseille cedex 02 -  France

In this paper we examine the investment strategy of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. GCC SWFs are considered as relatively opaque investors and strongly politicized, raising some concerns for perceived political and security risks. We investigate what are the drivers of majority cross-border equity acquisitions made by GCC SWFs over the period 2006-2015. Using a logit model and an ordered logit, we test if usual determinants of SWFs investments still stand when we look at influential (> 10%) or majority (> 50%) acquisitions made by GCC SWFs. We find that GCC SWFs' do not consider financial characteristics of the targeted firms when they acquire large cross-borde stakes but rather the characteristics of the country (countries in the European union and/or countries with a high level of shareholders protection), suggesting that their motives may go beyond pure profit maximization. We also find that transparent funds are more likely to take influential or majority stakes and that they do so predominantly in non-strategic sectors. Overall, our results indicates that even if GCC SWFs don't seek only for financial returns, acquiring majority stakes is not a lever for GCC governments to get strategic interests in the targeted country. 

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