Markets: Saudi Government Raises Stake In Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard logo

As gaming giant Activision Blizzard is in muddy waters for allegations of “constant sexual harassment” and gender discrimination against some of its female workers, it happens that a certain investor in the company is doubling down by purchasing more shares – the Saudi government, hmm.

  • The Saudi Public Investment Fund, the main sovereign wealth fund of the state, bought more shares in Activision Blizzard in this year’s second quarter, filings show. It’s strengthened its position among the gaming giant’s top shareholders, now clocking in the top 5.
  • According to the PIF’s latest 13-F filing, it raised its stake in Activision by 13% in Q2, now having 37.9 million shares that sum up to a 4.9% stake in the company. The stake is worth $3.2bn at current prices.
  • Since late July when a California state agency sued Activision alleging harassment and discrimination against female staff, the company’s stock has slipped a bit, going from sub-$90 on the day of the allegation to around $83 currently. The suit isn’t entirely the cause of the drop but it seems to have contributed.
  • The PIF is one of the biggest investors in the US stock markets and it’s not unusual for it to buy large blocks of shares in American companies, particularly gaming companies. The fund currently has large holdings in two other gaming companies; Electronic Arts (EA) and Take-Two Interactive.
  • Altogether, the PIF disclosed having $16bn worth of US equities at the end of Q2. That’s a minority of the fund’s $430bn in total assets under management. 
  • Activision was sued in late July by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging that women working at the company were subject to harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation for voicing their concerns. The issue has drawn a lot of ire against the company and led to a series of high-profile employees resigning, including its President.
  • Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) currently trades at $83.20 a share, with a market cap near $65bn.

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