Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund acquires 5% stake in Nintendo
Saudi Arabia, through its $500 billion Public Investment Fund, has acquired a 5.01% stake in Japanese gaming giant Nintendo.
The investment: The PIF has made a number of targeted investments in gaming and esports.
- The investment was uncovered through a filing to Japan's Finance Ministry, as per Bloomberg.
- Through the acquisition of the minority stake, the Saudi fund is now the fifth-largest shareholder in Nintendo.
- Nintendo isn't the first gaming company that's listed in Japan in which PIF has acquired a stake, however. The fund owns more than 5% of both Street Fighter developer Capcom and Nexon.
The game: Saudi Arabia is attempting to change its public image through several means, including gaming.
- Chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the fund has been investing heavily in gaming and esports. It bought over $3B in stock across Activision Blizzard, EA, and Take-Two in 2021.
- Some see these investments as the PIF expanding its "sportswashing ambitions" and the esports industry generally has a contentious relationship with the country due to human rights concerns.
- Through Savvy Gaming Group, a company wholly owned by the $500B fund, Saudi Arabia is recently acquired several major companies in esports. Tournament organizer ESL, gaming festival brand DreamHack, and esports platform FACEIT all came together as the ESL FACEIT Group under the new ownership.
- On a larger scale, the gaming industry has clearly entered an era of consolidation in 2022. Microsoft is looking to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69B, Sony is acquiring Bungie for $3.6B, Ubisoft is reportedly attracting potential buyers, Square Enix is selling much of its IP and three studios for $300M, and Zynga was acquired by Take-Two Interactive for $12.7B.