Saudi stake in EA, Take-Two grows as it pours money into gaming
Saudi Arabia recently increased its investment in EA and Take-Two Interactive while pouring more money into esports as well.
Driving the news: A series of financial disclosures this week reinforced the kingdom's stated goal to eventually invest billions into the games industry.
- The country's sovereign wealth fund increased its stake in EA from 5.1% to 5.8% with the acquisition of 2 million more shares as of the end of 2022, according to one new filing.
- Its stake in Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two grew from 5.3% to 6.8% by the end of last year, after it obtained nearly 3 million more shares.
- The country's Public Investment Fund has also reportedly increased its stake in Nintendo from 5.0% to 7.1%.
Esports boosters: The Saudi government-funded Savvy Gaming Group announced today that it is investing $265 million into Chinese esports giant VSPO.
- Savvy's first public gaming investments, in January 2022, involved the purchase of two major esports organizations for $1.5 billion.
- Aside from Savvy's moves, esports investment has cooled globally.
The big picture: The official goals for Saudi Arabia's investment in gaming include diversification of the kingdom's economy and supporting a younger population in the region.
- But the involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who chairs the Savvy group, has elicited questions about the investment as a means of reputation washing, given the country's human rights record.
What's next: Savvy has committed to investing $38 billion into gaming and has earmarked $13 billion to acquire a major game publisher.
- Interview: New Saudi gaming company is well-funded and controversial
- Saudi Arabia to invest $38 billion in gaming
Sign up for the Axios Gaming newsletter here.