Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is pursuing investments in an industry long favored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Riyadh-based Public Investment Fund acquired more than $3 billion worth of stock in three U.S. video-game makers during the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing. They include Activision Blizzard Inc., Electronic Arts Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.
In November, a subsidiary of the crown prince’s charitable organization (the Mohamed bin Salman Foundation) said it purchased a one-third stake in SNK Corp., the Japanese developer of King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown. The charity, also known as the MiSK Foundation, said it would increase its stake to 51% in the future.
The sovereign wealth fund acquired 14.9 million Activision shares with a market value of almost $1.4 billion during the fourth quarter, according to a Form 13F filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Its other purchases included 7.4 million Electronic Arts shares and 3.9 million Take-Two shares worth about $1.1 billion and $826 million, respectively, at the end of December.
The PIF is a key part of the crown prince’s plan to diversify the Saudi economy from its dependence on oil. The fund has made several high-profile investments in recent years, including a $4.4 billion stake in Uber Technologies Inc. and big commitments to Softbank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund.
The big bets on gaming were the latest sign of how the crown prince and Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the sovereign fund, are leading an aggressive shift in how the kingdom invests its wealth.
The sovereign investor’s role will increasingly be to develop huge new projects around the country focused on building up new industries and diversifying the economy.
Leading gaming markets in the Middle East and North Africa as of January 2021, by revenue(in million U.S. dollars) https://www.statista.com/statistics/500046/gaming-revenue-countries-middle-east-africa/