KUWAIT, (Reuters) – Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), is considering investing in the Visa Inc initial public offering, the local al-Qabas newspaper reported on Thursday, without citing anyone.
A KIA official said the authority could not immediately comment on the report.
Visa, the world’s largest credit card network, said last month it may raise up to $18.8 billion in the largest U.S. IPO, despite unsteady financial markets and a global credit crunch that could eat into transaction volumes.
The KIA, which manages about $225 billion of assets, is interested in investing in financial services and real estate companies in the United States and Europe to benefit from lower asset prices, KIA Managing Director Bader al-Saad told Reuters last month.
The KIA in January agreed to invest $5 billion in Merrill Lynch & Co and Citigroup Inc to help them raise capital after writedowns linked to the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.
In 2006, it invested about $720 million in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China ahead of its IPO, making it the bank’s biggest investor.
Goldman Sachs & Co, one of the banks arranging the Visa IPO, on Sunday arranged a meeting with potential investors in Dubai to tap wealth in the Gulf, which is reaping a windfall from record oil prices.
China Merchants Bank, China’s top credit card issuer, on Monday expressed an interest in buying into the IPO.