Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) has raised its stake in Nintendo to six percent, reports Reuters. This follows the initial acquisition of a 5.1 percent stake in the company in May 2022.
Saudi Arabia is aiming to become the hub of the global games industry, with a strong focus on the mobile sector. Saudi Arabia is at the heart of the increasingly mobile-relevant MENA region, and is attempting to cement its place within the industry through a variety of investments.
Led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the PIF has so far invested billions to further the country’s goals, including more than $3 billion in leading mobile game makers such as EA, Activision Blizzard, and Take-Two Interactive. It’s hoped that a strong tech-base will help Saudi Arabia shift away from its dependence on oil.
Is this a shift in focus?
Unlike the recipients of many other investments from the PIF, Nintendo is primarily focused on console development, seeing mobile gaming as a means to market its console titles. This investment could therefore be seen as an outlier in the fund’s portfolio, however it could also represent an effort to increase its reach through all areas of the games industry, as well as an increased interest in the Japanese market, which has been notably slow to adapt to mobile technology.
Perhaps related to the increased stake, Nintendo shares fell 1.8 percent this morning. This could represent unhappiness on the part of shareholders, who may be concerned about the PIF’s increasing hold on the company, and the steps Nintendo could take to appease the country in the future.
We listed Nintendo as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022. We reported last year that Saudi Arabia is eyeing up the $13 billion acquisition of a major, but unnamed, publisher as part of its $38.7 billion games strategy.