Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has made a $1 billion investment in Embracer Group, the games conglomerate that owns Gearbox, Saber Interactive, THQ Nordic and Deep Silver among others.
PIF’s subsidiary, the Savvy Gaming Group (SSG), made the investment, which amounts to roughly 8.1% of the company’s shares and 5.4% of the votes.
Bin Salman’s PIF has invested heavily in the video games industry. It also holds stakes in EA, Take-Two Interactive, Capcom, Activision Blizzard and, as of last month, Nintendo. Some analysts interpret these investments as an attempt to shift Saudi Arabia’s primary source of funds away from oil amidst growing demand for renewable energy.
The PIF is run by controversial Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the effective ruler of the authoritarian Saudi Arabian regime. Homosexuality is a crime in the country — in some cases, it’s punishable by death — and the CIA has with “high confidence” accused the bin Salman of ordering the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Embracer Group is on an acquisition spree of its own, having purchased Crystal Dynamics, Edios-Montreal and Square Enix Montreal last month, along with many of their biggest IP. It’s also building a video game archive to help preserve the medium’s history.