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Saudi investment fund acquires $1 billion stake in Embracer Group

The state-backed Public Investment Fund has controversial ties with Saudi leadership.

Saudi Arabia's state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF) has acquired an 8.1 percent stake in Embracer Group for $1 billion.

PIF made the purchase through its Savvy Gaming Group subsidiary, which will also hold 5.4 percent of Embracer's voting rights.

The deal will see Embracer, which owns numerous studios and publishers including THQ Nordic, Gearbox Software, and Saber Interactive, carry out a directed share issue of approximately 99.9 million B shares at a subscription price of SEK 103.47 per share.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince and deputy prime minister Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, who has been linked with the assassination of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and accused of torturing human rights activists, currently chairs PIF.

Commenting on the deal, Embracer Group founder and CEO Lars Wingefors said the investment will help the Swedish conglomerate establish a regional hub in Saudi Arabia and facilitate future investments across the MENA region.

"Our strategy includes having a diverse range of forward-looking shareholders who support our long-term business plans. Savvy Gaming Group’s investment of $1 billion enables us to continue executing our strategy proactively from a position of strength across the global gaming industry," commented Wingefors.

"Over the past few years, Saudi-based entities have become one of the most significant investors in the global gaming market, and the games market in MENA is one of the world’s fastest growing, with $5.7 billion in 2021 revenues and more active gamers than either the US or Western Europe. The largest country in this market, by far, is Saudi Arabia, and having visited Saudi Arabia, I have seen the gaming community and the opportunities firsthand."

PIF has been investing heavily in video game companies of late, and recently grabbed a 5 percent stake in Nintendo. Prior to that, the organization sunk cash into Japanese companies Capcom and Nexon, and also grabbed $3 billion worth of stock in Activision Blizzard, EA, Take-Two Interactive.

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