Saudi Arabia has reportedly increased its stake in EA
The Kingdom’s Investment Fund is now said to own around 9% of the company
Saudi Arabia has reportedly increased its stake in Electronic Arts.
According to Seeking Alpha (via GamesIndustry.biz), the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) published a new filing detailing its business in the three months ending March 31.
In that period, the PIF reportedly increased its number of shares in EA from 16.01 million to 24.81 million.
This increase of 55% shares brings the PIF’s total ownership stake in the EA Sports FC publisher to around 9%.
The PIF, which has made a series of investments in the video games industry in recent years, is reportedly central to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of making the Saudi economy less reliant on proceeds from oil.
The fund has also been regularly investing in Nintendo, steadily increasing its stake in the company, first acquiring a 5.01% stake in May 2022, then raising it to 6.07% in January 2023, then to 7.08% and again to 8.26% in February 2023.
Nintendo has previously claimed that when the PIF bought its initial stake in the company, it was unaware of the transaction and first learned about the Saudi investment from news reports.
In December 2020 the fund acquired over $3 billion worth of stock in EA, Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard and Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two.
It was reported last September that Saudi Arabia planned to invest a further $37.8 billion in games industry acquisitions, including around $13 billion to acquire “a leading game publisher”.
The investments were to include 70 billion riyals ($18.6bn) to take minority stakes in several “key companies” that support Savvy’s game development agenda, and 50 billion riyals ($13.3bn) to acquire “a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner”.
The PIF’s continued investments in video game companies may raise concerns for some, given Saudi Arabia’s longstanding history of human rights abuses.
American Intelligence agencies have also accused the crown prince of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.