Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has purchased a 5.01% stake in Nintendo, according to a report shared by Bloomberg today. This is not the first time that the Middle Eastern country has invested in the iconic Japanese games company, but the new buy effectively cements Saudia Arabia’s PIF as its fifth-largest shareholder. Filings made to Japan’s Finance Ministry have confirmed that the buy was made for investment purposes, while Nintendo has clarified that it only learned of the stake when the story began circulating among news outlets. Other Japanese gaming companies that the PIF has bought into include Capcom, which needs no introduction, and Nexon Co., a provider for online games.
“Saudi Arabia has been beefing up efforts to create its own content industry, and this series of investments in Japanese game companies is likely a way for them to learn from Japan,” said Hideki Yasuda, a senior analyst at Toyo Securities.
Japan’s gaming companies have been the subject of speculation amid a broader wave of consolidation in the industry, ever since Microsoft Corp. announced the $69 billion Activision Blizzard Inc. purchase. The PIF had in fact bought about 37.9 million shares in Activision and was losing money on the deal — until Microsoft stepped in.
Kyoto-based Nintendo reported lackluster financial results last week as the creator of Super Mario struggles to revitalize its five-year-old Switch console and manage a global chip shortage. The company projected full-year operating income below analysts’ estimates and said it’s expecting to sell 21 million Switch devices this year, shy of the 21.7 million anticipated.