The Rotana media group, owned by Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal, has signed an agreement with the Bahraini authorities to move its headquarters to Manama, said the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) on Wednesday. The agreement comes before the launch of the company's Al-Arab news channel during the first quarter of 2013.
Twelve channels owned by the group, which have been broadcasted from Cairo and Beirut, will be able to move to Manama.
The agency quoted the billionaire prince as saying the move to Manama is "a strategic decision and will have very important results". He added that Bahrain has an open atmosphere despite "minority" attempts to disturb it, referring to recent demonstrations led by the country's Shiite population.
He explained that the decision to move to Manama comes after a deep study and intense competition between several Arab capitals.
It is expected that AlArab will compete with the Qatari Al-Jazeera and the Al-Arabyia network, funded by Saudis and broadcast from Dubai, as well as Sky News which recently launched a few days ago from Abu Dhabi.
The number of channels owned by the group will rise to 13 after the release of Al-Arab that was supposed to begin its work in the first quarter of this year but was delayed for unknown reasons.