Saudi public fund takes 5% stake in Nintendo

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has deepened its bet on video games by taking a 5% stake, worth around $3 billion, in Japanese company Nintendo Co.

In a Japanese regulatory filing, PIF said it owned just over 5% of Nintendo as of March 31. He said the stake was purely an investment, suggesting he had no intention of trying to influence company strategy.

A Nintendo spokesperson declined to comment. Representatives for PIF did not respond to a request for comment.

Kyoto-based Nintendo was a big winner at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as people stayed home and played more video games. More recently, the company’s results have lagged, partly due to supply issues and because its flagship Switch console has been on the market for more than five years.

Nintendo said last week that Switch sales fell 20% in the fiscal year ended March 31 from a year earlier, and it predicted a further drop this year linked to supply issues. .

High oil prices mean Saudi Arabia is teeming with money this year. Much of the money should be given to the PIF to invest in the country and abroad. The fund says it has $600 billion in assets.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has tasked the fund with helping diversify the economy away from reliance on oil revenue, and it has invested in building the entertainment and tourism industries.

This year marks the first time oil prices have topped $100 a barrel since Prince Mohammed became the country’s de facto ruler, a boost to his plans to remake his kingdom.

The Saudi government’s oil revenue is expected to rise 66% this year to about $250 billion, with a surplus exceeding government spending of about $80 billion, or 7.8% of economic output, according to the Saudi bank. Jadwa Investment.

Prince Mohammed, president of the PIF, has said in interviews that he is an avid player. In February, the fund also unveiled stakes of more than 5% in two other Japanese video game companies: Capcom Co.

the creator of the “Street Fighter” game series and online game provider Nexon Co.

In a stock-buying frenzy during the pandemic, PIF took a stake in Activision Blizzard Inc.

before the company became the target of a takeover by Microsoft Corp.

The Saudi fund also has stakes in US game makers Electronic Arts Inc.

and take two interactive software Inc.,

according to US securities filings.

Earlier this year, the fund also said it had set up a subsidiary called Savvy Gaming Group to invest in the online gaming industry. As part of the announcement, Savvy Gaming Group said it acquired an entertainment and esports event organizer and digital gaming platform.

Write to Yang Jie to [email protected] and Rory Jones at [email protected]

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