Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) continues its splurge on gaming companies by acquiring a $1 billion stake in Sweden's Embracer Group.
The PIF is a wealth fund of oil-rich Saudi Arabia and has been steadily buying stakes in video games companies and esports firms around the world as the country seeks to expand its economy. PIF's Savvy Gaming Group will take an 8.1 percent stake in Embracer Group for $1.05 billion, making it the second-largest owner of the Swedish games firm (via Bloomberg).
This deal follows similar ones as Saudi Arabia seems to be buying stakes left, right, and centre. In January it purchased stakes in Modern Times Group, buying the Swedish company's esports division for just over a $1 billion. It has reached into Japan, acquiring a 5.1 percent stake in Nintendo last month, following purchases of shares in Capcom and online games provider Nexon. In April, it bought 96 percent of Japanese developer SNK which makes Fatal Fury, Metal Slug, and King of Fighters.
Embracer Group has a large amount of developers and publishers under its umbrella. Formerly known as THQ Nordic AB, the group recently acquired Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal from Square Enix, making it the new owners of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief franchises. Embracer founder and group CEO Lars Wingefors said, "Savvy Gaming Group's investment of $1 billion enables us to continue executing our strategy proactively from a position of strength across the global gaming industry", in a statement.
"Our relationship with Savvy Gaming Group will enable us to set up a regional hub in Saudi Arabia, from which we will be able to make investments across the MENA region, either organically, via partnerships, joint ventures, or via acquisitions of companies led by strong entrepreneurs".
Saudi Arabia, which has come under fire from human rights organisations and is an authoritarian autocracy, also has shares in other big players with the PIF holding stakes in Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two. The country's leader crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has around $500 billion in this wealth fund.
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