NEW DELHI — As the American investment banking industry seems to teeter, many investors are asking why the sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East have not stepped up.
Less than a year ago, the funds spent billions of dollars for minority stakes in Wall Street banks. As oil prices peaked near $145 a barrel this year, the Middle East sovereign wealth funds amassed even more cash. Still, even as the values of banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are swooning, Middle East funds are not biting.
The explanation is simple, bankers in the region say. Plenty of other, more attractive assets are out there right now.
With markets having been hit by the global downturn, compelling, value-priced deals are numerous — from sports teams in Britain and publicly traded companies in Russia to deals closer to home, like Middle East infrastructure buys, Youssef Nasr, chief executive of HSBC Bank Middle East, said.