The Qatari government is reportedly seeking to buy a stake in the conservative media outlet Newsmax, according to a report published Tuesday.
People familiar with the potential deal told Politico that Qatari officials met with representatives from Newsmax multiple times this year, and have reportedly been facilitated by Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s younger brother.
The two people familiar with the dealings said the talks took place in New York and Mar-a-Lago, Florida, starting in January as the Middle Eastern nation attempts to win clout with the United States.
The nation had struggled to win the U.S.’s attention since President Trump initially supported an embargo led by several Arab countries against Qatar. The nations leading the embargo, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, accuse Qatar of supporting terrorists because of the country’s close relationship with Iran.
The proposed $90 million investment would go towards expanding Newsmax’s television operations, according to one person who knew about the talks.
The current status of the proposed deal is unclear, but Newsmax founder Chris Ruddy denied that the company is making a deal with Qatar and called the claims “false.” A spokesperson for Qatar’s embassy refused to comment on the alleged dealing.
Qatar had also funded other media outlets with a presence in the U.S. The nation was a major financial backer of Al Jazeera America when it launched in 2013, but the outlet closed its American outpost in 2016 due to low ratings.