Saudi Arabia is now the fifth largest Nintendo shareholder

Saudi Arabia has purchased 5.01% of Nintendo as the country's Public Investment Fund (PIF) continues to invest in video game companies.
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Saudi Arabia has officially purchased 5.01% of Nintendo via its Public Investment Fund (PIF), a program which is reportedly designed to net the country a portion of global entertainment profits, while also ‘white washing‘ its history of human rights abuses.

The purchase was spotted by Bloomberg, which also noted this makes the country Nintendo’s fifth largest shareholder – although at this stage, the title is essentially honorary, and is not expected to make an impact on Nintendo’s current operations.

According to an industry analyst cited by Bloomberg, it appears the PIF investment has been made so that Saudi Arabia can learn more about Nintendo and its ‘pedigree’. The country is reportedly looking to ‘beef up’ its own content industry, and is in the process of investing in a number of global games and entertainment companies as a means to learn more about how the industry actually works.

Recently, Saudi Arabia used the PIF to invest in Capcom and Nexon. It expanded its stake in developer SNK to 96% in early 2022. The country is also a shareholder in Take-Two, EA, and Activision Blizzard – all major video game companies that have continued to report profits and advancements year-over-year.

Read: SNK is now 96% owned by Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Nintendo is a publicly traded company, and its shares can be freely purchased by anyone – although association with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is certainly not a good look for a company that prides itself on being wholesome, cosy and fun.

Salman, who has driven Saudi Arabia’s recent investments in global media, was recently alleged to have been involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with US intelligence claiming the prince directly approved the plan to capture or kill Khashoggi after he criticised the policies of the government.

While Saudi Arabia has rejected this report, it’s just one of many human rights violations reportedly committed by the country in recent memory.

The purchase of Nintendo shares by Salman and the Saudi government is believed to be another strategic move from Saudi Arabia, as the PIF allows the country to diversify its economic interests, and its global image as a ‘progressive’ nation.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.