gamerant.com Saudi Arabia is Now One of Nintendo's Largest Shareholders

119 20/07/2022

ByGlenn KaonangShareTweetShareEmail

According to a filing in Japan's Finance Ministry, Saudi Arabia has acquired a substantial amount of stake in Nintendo through its wealth fund.

Saudi Arabia is probably never the first country that comes up to people's mind when talking about the video game industry. However, that doesn't stop the Middle Eastern country from making big gaming-related investments. In fact, Saudi Arabia has been busy putting some of its money into several video game companies in the last two years, and its latest investment in this space can be considered one of the highest-profile.

Through its Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia has been trying to diversify its investment portfolio beyond just oil and gas. The $500 billion sovereign wealth fund has been used to purchase shares of companies in various sectors, with vision to become a global investment powerhouse. Within the video game industry, the PIF has targeted some of the biggest names, with the latest example being Nintendo.

gamerant.com Saudi Arabia is Now One of Nintendo's Largest Shareholders

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As reported by Bloomberg based on a filing made to Japan's Finance Ministry, Saudi Arabia's PIF recently acquired 5.01 percent stake in Nintendo. The purchase is set to make Saudi Arabia the fifth-largest shareholder of Nintendo, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, which is substantial considering that Nintendo easily sits on the top five biggest gaming companies by revenue alongside Tencent, Sony, and Microsoft.

This isn't the first time that Saudi Arabia has purchased stakes of more than 5 percent in Japanese video game companies. Earlier this year, the nation's PIF was used to acquire 5 percent stake of both Capcom and Nexon in deals that were said to be valued at over $1 billion. Other gaming companies the country has stakes in include EA, Take-Two Interactive, and Activision Blizzard, with the latter giving Saudi Arabia a chance to profit once Microsoft's acquisition successfully completed.

But the biggest stake that Saudi Arabia has over a video game company is SNK. With around 96 percent of SNK's stock shares purchased by Electronic Gaming Development Company, a subsidiary of Mohammad bin Salman Foundation, Saudi Arabia basically owns the company behind King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, Metal Slug, and many more popular series of games. Other gaming-related properties that Saudi Arabia owns are ESL and FACEIT, which were acquired last January.

While owning a 5 percent stake won't give Saudi Arabia control over Nintendo's future direction, the deal may still raise concerns for some, given Saudi Arabia's longstanding notoriety for human rights abuses. It remains to be seen how these continued investments in the video game industry can effectively divert attention from the country's problems.

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Source: Bloomberg

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