Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund acquires stake in Embracer Group
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Saudi Arabia’s controversial Public Investment Fund (PIF) now owns part of Embracer – the umbrella company which owns Gearbox, Saber Interactive, THQ Nordic and Deep Silver – making the publisher the latest in a long line of video game investments from the initiative chaired by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
This investment has been made via PIF’s subsidiary, the Savvy Gaming Group (SGG). Following this move, SGG will hold approximately 8.1 percent of the shares and 5.4 percent of the votes in the company.
Embracer now joins the likes of EA, Take Two Interactive, Capcom and Activision Blizzard, which the PIF also has stakes in.
The hugely controversial Prince Mohammed bin Salman is often cited as being a fan of video games, with his preferred franchise being Call of Duty.
He has been blamed by the CIA for the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while his rule of Saudi Arabia has kept up the country’s notoriously poor human rights record, with homosexuality still criminalised with punishments ranging from floggings to the death penalty.
Recent video gaming additions to Saudi’s investment portfolio suggest the country is leaning away from its reliance on oil money, as the world as a whole seeks more sustainable energy. Along with its video game investments, the PIF also has stakes in Uber, live events conglomerate Live Nation Entertainment and additionally owns 80 percent of Newcastle United.
Meanwhile, Embracer recently made headlines following news it had purchased the rights to big franchises such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex from Square Enix.