Update #2 [Fri 27th Nov, 2020 12:40 GMT]: The Mohammad bin Salman Charity Foundation has confirmed that it is investing 813 million riyals ($223 million) in SNK, giving it a 33.3% stake in the company. That values the company at $669 million (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz).
The purchase has been made via ‘Electronic Games Development Company,’ a wholly-owned subsidiary, and stipulates that the foundation will eventually purchase an additional 17.7% of SNK’s shares, giving it 51% ownership of the Japanese video game company. That would give the Prince – via his foundation and the EGDC – a controlling stake in the firm.
SNK Corp’s share price on KOSDAQ has risen in response to the news, jumping 30% to 16,500 Korean won ($14.93).
Update #1 [Thu 26th Nov, 2020 12:20 GMT]: It would seem that EGDC is becoming the company’s largest shareholder, rather than buying the company outright. The deal will see EGDC gain 33.3% of SNK stock.
Original story [Thu 26th Nov, 2020 11:15 GMT]: Well, here’s a story we didn’t think we’d be writing this morning.
According to reports coming out of the Far East (thanks, ResetEra), video game veteran SNK – famous for properties such as Samurai Shodown, Metal Slug and King of Fighters – has been purchased by the Saudi-based Electronic Gaming Development Company (EGDC).
The deal – which has been signed today – transfers all SNK stock to EGDC. However, it is reported that the agreement has been 100% funded by the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is the largest shareholder of EGDC. It would appear that the acquisition of SNK is part of the Prince’s “Saudi Vision 2030” program, which seeks to diversify the traditionally oil-led Saudi economy via sectors such as tourism and technology.
The Crown Prince is a controversial figure in global politics and is accused of having a hand in the assassination of Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. He is also accused of detaining and torturing human rights activists and actioning the mass execution of 37 civilians in 2019.
SNK was purchased by a group of Chinese investors back in 2015, with the aim to turn the company’s properties into a “Marvel-style” multimedia hit factory.