- Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, one of the largest in the world, raised its stakes in video-game makers.
- The Riyadh-based fund dumped its position in Canada’s Suncor Energy.
- The fund is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is a big fan of video games.
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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund boosted its holdings in US video-game makers and dumped a major oil stake in the first quarter this year, according to a 13F disclosure filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.
The fund more than doubled its position in Activision Blizzard to 33.4 million shares, from 15 million shares last quarter, and raised its shares in Electronic Arts to 14.2 million, from 7.4 million last quarter. It also bought more shares in Take-Two Interactive.
That brought its total gaming holdings to $6 billion in the quarter, up from $3 billion in the fourth quarter. Overall US stock holdings rose to $15.4 billion from about $12.8 billion at the end of last year, the filing showed.
The fund is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is said to have a keen interest in video games – especially “Call of Duty.” He told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2016 that he grew up as part of the first Saudi generation to be exposed to gaming.
The PIF exited from its entire stake of 51 million shares in Canada-based Suncor Energy, in which its position would be worth around $1.2 billion. Billionaire Warren Buffett had also dumped his stake in Suncor last quarter.
$141 million worth of shares in South Korea’s e-commerce retailer Coupang were added to the fund’s roster. Another new holding turned out to be an 8.7% stake in a blank-check company, Compute Health Acquisition, founded by Intel chairman Omar Ishrak.
The value of its largest holding, Uber, rose to about $4 billion in the first quarter, from $3.7 billion in the previous quarter.
Trying to break away from its “addiction to oil,” the Saudi economy is looking to develop itself by branching out and building up new industries around the country. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil and one of the biggest producers, along with Russia and the United States.
The Saudi government has committed to spending at least $40 billion annually by the end of 2025 through the development of new cities and the creation of almost 2 million new jobs.
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