The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has made its third investment in Japanese game companies by acquiring 5.01% of Nintendo Co.
It was reported that the Public Investment Fund, headed by the country’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, was purchased for investment purposes. This acquisition makes the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund Nintendo’s fifth-largest shareholder.
Last month, the prince bought 96% of Japanese developer SNK, taking over ownership of Fatal Fury, Metal Slug, and King of Fighters studio. Earlier this year, the country’s Public Investment Fund was used to invest more than 5% stakes in both Capcom and South Korean online game publisher Nexon. The total of these investments exceeded 1 billion dollars.
Japan’s gaming companies have been the subject of speculation amid a broader wave of consolidation in the industry since Microsoft announced its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
If Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is successful, Saudi Arabia will profit from a portion of this investment. PIF was making a loss before acquiring 37.9 million shares from Activision.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is known to be at the center of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of making the Saudi economy less dependent on revenues from oil. Given Saudi Arabia’s long history of human rights abuses, PIF’s continued investment in video game companies worries companies.
Hideki Yasuda, Senior Analyst at Toyo Securities, commented;
“Saudi Arabia has been beefing up efforts to create its own content industry, and this series of investments in Japanese game companies is likely a way for them to learn from Japan.”
A Nintendo spokesperson said the company learned of the Saudi investment from the news and would not comment on individual shareholders.