In 1985, the first Super Mario console game was launched by Nintendo. The same year, Mohammed bin Salman was born into the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Since then, the Mario franchise has grossed 55B USD in global revenues, whilst the Saudi crown prince—commonly referred to as MbS—has risen to become de facto leader of his country.
A self-proclaimed gamer, the young MbS may have been a Mario fan. And maybe, it is no coincidence that in 2022, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) —the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund—acquired a 5% stake in Japan’s Nintendo, which it in 2023 increased to 8%.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, PIF spent more than 1B USD acquiring a 2% stake in Reliance Industries, a conglomerate that owns one of India’s most powerful esports businesses. Following a state visit by President Xi Jinping to Riyadh in 2022, PIF then spent 265M USD on buying a share of...
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