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Saudi Arabia crown prince buys 5% stake in Nintendo

Nintendo Logo 1080p
Nintendo Logo 1080p (Image credit: Nintendo)

What you need to know

  • The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund has purchased a 5% stake in Nintendo for almost $3 billion.
  • The fund previously invested in other gaming companies, and is controlled by the controversial Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
  • The crown prince also owns almost all of SNK Corporation through the MiSK Foundation.

Nintendo just got a major investment from another big money-mover in the gaming industry, but it's one that could raise alarm to some in the industry.

As reported by Bloomberg, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) has purchased a 5.01% stake in Nintendo, for a cost of almost $3 billion. The PIF is effectively controlled by Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

This isn't the first time the PIF has invested in major video game companies, having also invested in publishers such as Capcom, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive and Activision Blizzard. The MiSK Foundation, another group directly controller by the prince, recently purchased almost all of the shares of SNK Corporation, a publisher known for games like Metal Slug and King of Fighters. Outside of gaming, the PIF also has minority stakes of varying sizes in companies such as Uber and Disney.

The video game industry is undergoing a period of heavy consolidation, with Embracer Group buying the western portion of Square Enix for $300 million. Sony is working to acquire Destiny developer Bungie for $3.6 billion, while Microsoft is working to acquire Activision Blizzard for almost $69 billion. Smaller, minority stake-style investments are happening all the time, but the purchases made under control of the crown prince are raising some alarm.

Saudi Arabia's government has drawn ire following reports of human rights violations and persecution, including targeting LGBTQ individuals. Additionally, the prince is accused of directly ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Nintendo on iMore. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.