MBC moves HQ from Dubai to Riyadh

Middle East broadcaster MBC Group has opened a new headquarters in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

The move to Saudi Arabia marks a key change for the Saudi-owned group, which was founded in the UK and has been based in Dubai in the UAE since 2002.

The move from Dubai comes against the backdrop of a major campaign by the Saudi authorities to get multinational groups with interests in the Middle East to move their regional headquarters to Riyadh by 2024, reportedly under threat of losing government contracts if they fail to do so.

Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, chairman of MBC Group, inaugurated the outfit’s new Riyadh operations centre at an event attended by acting Saudi media minister Majid bin Abdullah Alkassabi.

The event was attended by Saudi royal family members, ministers, ambassadors and other VIPs, including talent from MBC channels and Al Arabiya, the Arabic news channel part-owned by the group, which is also moving its operations to Riyadh from Dubai.

“Three decades on after the beginning of MBC Group’s journey, we are finally here in Riyadh – we are finally here in our homeland. It was always in our ambitions to be based here; right from the very first day of our launch in London in 1991. But back then, we truly thought that this dream would remain what it was; merely an ambitious yet unattainable dream. Little did we know that one day, it would become a reality,” said Al Ibrahim.

“Our great nation has been witnessing a spectacular revival, with rapid development across numerous fields and industries. This, of course, is under the leadership of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

“The development of, and the unlimited support that has been made available to the Kingdom’s cultural and creative industries – including media and entertainment – has made it possible for the Arab world’s talented creators to realise their dreams. And this has only made us even more excited and enthralled to be with you here in Riyadh today.”

Al Ibrahim expressed his “endless thanks and gratitude to our brothers in the United Arab Emirates” for hosting the media company for the last two decades.

Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC Group, said: “For many of you, MBC has always been here. For 31 years, MBC has been in the corner of your living rooms. We’ve been here in Ramadan and at Eid. We’ve been here in your cars as you drive to work. And we’ve been here reporting on the events that have shaped your nation.

“As we celebrate the opening of our new headquarters – we’re also celebrating the special bond between MBC and its Saudi audience that goes back over three decades. And we’re excited, because this new headquarters is a springboard to launch new projects across the Kingdom.”

Barnett said that more than 80 titles were scheduled to be produced in Saudi Arabia in the coming period.

Tags: MBC, Saudi Arabia, UAE

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