The Riyadh-based Public Investment Fund acquired more than $3 billion worth of stock in Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, and Activision Blizzard during the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing revealed by Bloomberg.
The sovereign wealth fund acquired 14.9 million Activision shares with a market value of almost $1.4 billion during the fourth quarter, according to a Form 13F filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Its other purchases included 7.4 million Electronic Arts shares and 3.9 million Take-Two shares worth about $1.1 billion and $826 million, respectively, at the end of December.
The sovereign wealth fund (aka PIF) is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said in 2016 that he was part of the first Saudi generation to grow up playing video games.
At the end of 2020, a one-third stake in SNK, a Japan-based game development company, was acquired by Salman’s foundation. The Prince also supports creative talents around the world with a foundation called “MiSK”. The MİSK Foundation said it would increase its stake in SNK to 51% in the future.
According to Bloomberg, the PIF is a key part of the crown prince’s plan to diversify the Saudi economy from its dependence on oil. The fund has made several high-profile investments in recent years, including a $4.4 billion stake in Uber Technologies Inc. and big commitments to Softbank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund.
The PIF received a $40 billion transfer from the nation’s reserves in March to fund a flurry of activity that saw the fund buy stakes in companies including Citigroup Inc., Facebook Inc. and cruise-ship operator Carnival Corp. By the end of June it had sold most of those stakes.
As the kingdom was boosting its exposure to U.S. equities held by the PIF in the last few months of 2020, its holdings of U.S. Treasures fell the most since April.
The total value of the PIF’s 13F holdings reached almost $12.8 billion as of Dec. 31, up from $7.1 billion as of Sept. 30. That was also boosted by a $1 billion gain in the value of the PIF’s Uber stake.
By contrast, its exposure to U.S. equities in the third quarter fell by $3 billion, mainly because the PIF sold stakes in exchange-traded funds that track the real estate and materials sectors.