Following a face-saving arrangement that turned around its investment in Activision Blizzard Inc, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund increased its bet on video games. The Public Investment Fund or PIF declared holdings of more than 5% in two publicly-traded gaming companies in Japan: Capcom Co., the creator of the Street Fighter and Resident Evil brands, and Nexon Co., a provider of online games. Its combined stakes in the two companies are valued at over $1 billion.
Since Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision last month, Japan’s gaming businesses have been the focus of speculation amid a broader trend of consolidation in the videogames sector. Bungie Inc., the US video game developer behind the blockbuster Destiny and Halo franchises, is also being purchased by Sony Group Corp. for $3.6 billion.
Even as the benchmark Topix index fell 0.2 percent, shares in Osaka-based Capcom, which includes Monster Hunter among its hit franchises, climbed as high as 1.7 percent after the announcement on Friday. Based on Friday’s share price, PIF’s stake in Capcom is worth around $332 million.
The PIF also bought a 5.02 percent share in Nexon, the firm behind role-playing games such as MapleStory and Dungeon&Fighter, for $883 million. The Tokyo-listed company, led by American Owen Mahoney and established by South Korean billionaire Kim Jung-Ju, saw its shares jump more than 3% in Tokyo trading.
Nexon recently invested $400 million in AGBO, the independent film production firm co-founded by “Avengers” filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo and purchased $100 million in Bitcoin last year. The objective of both holdings, according to the PIF, was “pure investment,” and the latest acquisitions were made in the market between Jan. 25 to Jan. 31.
Electronic Arts Inc. and Take Two Interactive Software Inc. are also owned by the Saudi fund. According to persons familiar with the situation, the Public Investment Fund, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has set aside around $10 billion to buy global companies based on a thematic plan that includes e-commerce and renewables.