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Saudi Arabia increases stake in Nintendo

February 16, 2023 at 4:45 pm

Gaming console Switch by Nintendo [Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash]

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has increased its stake in Japanese gaming giant Nintendo for the second time in a month. The PIF now owns 7.08 per cent, up from 6.07 per cent in January, according to a report by Trading View.

The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund previously acquired a 5.01 per cent stake back in May 2021, worth $2.98 billion, making it Nintendo’s fifth-largest shareholder. Last year the company revealed that it learned of the PIF’s initial holding from news reports. It has yet to comment on the PIF’s growing stake in the company.

The PIF is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. It has been investing heavily in the gaming industry, as the kingdom looks to diversify its economy away from reliance on oil revenues, in accordance with the prince’s Vision2030 strategy.

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Saudi Arabia already owns a five per cent stake in Japanese developer Capcom and online games provider Nexon as of last year. Bin Salman also increased his share in Osaka-based games company SNK through his MiSK Foundation, and is now the majority-owner, holding over 96 per cent in shares. Throughout 2021 and 2022, the PIF also invested $3bn in US-based firms Take-Two Interactive, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard.

Last September, Bin Salman announced that the PIF would launch a new Savvy Gaming Group (SGG) strategy, which would include setting aside $13.3bn (50bn riyals) to acquire “a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner”. At the time, the crown prince said, “Savvy Games Group is one part of our ambitious strategy aiming to make Saudi Arabia the ultimate global hub for the games and e-sports sector by 2030.”

The PIF-backed SGG has already taken over two of the largest e-sports brands. It has also been reported today that SGG will invest $265m in Chinese e-sports company VSPO, which would make it the largest shareholder.

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