Savvy Games, a subsidiary of the renowned Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, has made one of the most expensive acquisitions in the annals of video gaming by purchasing Scopely. This is a landmark moment that marks a new chapter in the industry’s history.
Savvy Games is forking out almost $5 billion to acquire Scopely, nudging its way into the ranks of only five gaming buyouts that outstrip it in size – Activision’s purchase of King for $5.9 billion, Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax for $8.1 billion, Tencent’s snap-up of Supercell for $8.6 billion, and Take-Two’s swoop on Zynga for a whopping $12.7 billion. Microsoft is in the midst of a titanic takeover of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, which would soar to the top as the most prodigious purchase in the history of video games.
In a stirring press statement, Savvy declared that the impending agreement — awaiting regulatory sanction — further bolsters the corporation’s “capacity to provide novel and thrilling entertainment for the global gaming fraternity.”
You may not be familiar with Scopely, but the gaming organization has collaborated on projects for iconic series like Star Trek, The Walking Dead, and Marvel. It is also the mastermind behind the vibrant battle royale title Stumble Guys, a title that appears to have taken influence from Mediatonic’s Fall Guys.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Scopely and help them realize their ambitious goals,” said Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games. “Our team’s experience in the gaming industry will no doubt be an asset as we work together to push the envelope of what can be achieved in mobile gaming.”
Savvy has announced its intention to bring Scopely, its gaming subsidiary, to the PC and console market, with Walter Driver and Javier Ferreira continuing their roles as co-CEOs. The move portends a broader expansion of Scopely’s already successful mobile endeavors, a prospect that bodes well for the company’s future.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has been steadily increasing its footprint in the gaming industry, through its arm Savvy. Besides the outright purchase of Scopely, the entity holds moderate stakes in Capcom, Nexon, EA, and Take-Two Interactive. Savvy also controls a substantial number of stocks in Activision Blizzard, which could potentially net a massive return should the Microsoft acquisition of the company materialize. Furthermore, the kingdom is the largest external shareholder in Nintendo, holding a share of more than 8%.
After Savvy forked out a whopping $1 billion to gaming giant Embracer, the Borderlands studio proprietor justified the agreement to accept the funds after individuals voiced concerns about Saudi Arabia’s spotty human rights record.
In 2018, a US-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who had openly expressed his discontentment with the Saudi government, ventured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, yet never returned. The Central Intelligence Agency later concluded that the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had issued the command for Khashoggi’s elimination.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF), spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is aiming to expand it’s assets to a whopping $1.07 trillion by 2025, as reported by Markets Insider. As the oil-dependent nation strives to re-brand itself, the PIF seeks to diversify its portfolio by investing in gaming, sponsoring the LIV Golf tournament series, and other creative avenues.