Saudi Arabia have become one of the largest shareholders in Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts (EA), and Take-Two Interactive.
Barron’s reports that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, became the largest shareholders in those companies after buying shares in the fourth quarter. Barron’s notes that they had no shares those companies by the end of the third quarter.
The acquisitions include 15 million shares in Activision (for over $1.3 billion USD) and 7.4 million shares in EA (over $1 billion USD); making them the sixth largest shareholder for both companies. 4 million shares in Take-Two Interactive (over $825 million USD) make it the fifth largest shareholder.
We previously reported how a company owned by the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia became the largest shareholder in SNK Corporation, and will become the majority shareholder in the future. The Crown Prince is also the chairman of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
The Crown Prince had reportedly announced his “Vision 2030” strategy previously; intending to improve Saudi Arabia’s industries via his own wealth amassed through oil. This has previously been seen with Neom; a planned cross-border state-backed city in Saudi Arabia. The city will be in the Tabuk Province, and promises to use smart technology and act as a tourist destination.
However, the project has drawn ire for allegations of Saudi security forces driving out the native Howeitat tribe [1, 2]. Alya Abutayah Alhwaiti told the BBC threats were made against her after she drew the situation to light. Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti- the man who originally posted the videos of the allegations online- was reportedly killed by Saudi security forces.
In July 2020 it was announced that the summer season of the League of Legends European Championship would partner with Neom. The above controversy combined with Saudi Arabia’s violations of human rights lead to outcry, and Riot Games then pulled their partnership with Neon just 16 hours after the announcement. They would later form a global deals council and an ethics committee.