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Saudi Arabia is stepping up plans to turn its sovereign wealth fund into a global giant.What is the fund up to?The fund's deal making has quickened as it seeks to increase the proportion of foreign holdings to 50 percent from 5 percent. The PIF, for example, is starting a $500 million energy-efficiency company and has built a $2.4 billion stake in a Riyadh-based dairy farm and food processor. In May it agreed to commit $20 billion to an infrastructure investment fund with Blackstone Group LP and to invest as much as $45 billion in a technology fund run by SoftBank.Transferring Aramco to the PIF would allow the government to get its revenue from investments, rather than oil and along the way transform the PIF into the world's biggest sovereign fund.While the Aramco holding would vault the PIF ahead of Norway's $850 billion sovereign wealth fund, currently the world's largest, most of the PIF's assets will be illiquid until the Saudis sell Aramco shares.
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