Saudi wealth fund’s gaming unit invests $4.9bn in Scopely Saudi wealth fund’s gaming unit invests $4.9bn in Scopely
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Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games acquires Scopely for $4.9bn

Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games acquires Scopely for $4.9bn

The company will benefit from Savvy’s long-term financial backing to deliver on its strategy to grow and deepen existing franchises

Savvy-backed Scopely LA Office. Image by Scopely

Savvy Gaming Group, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), has agreed to acquire mobile games studio Scopely for $4.9bn, a deal that is expected to strengthen the gaming and e-sports developer global position.

Founded in 2011, Scopely is known for several popular mobile games including Yahtzee With Buddies, Star Trek Fleet Command, Marvel Strike Force, Stumble Guys and Scrabble Go. The company has grown over the years with a number of notable acquisitions including Disney’s FoxNext Games in 2020 and the acquisition of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s GSN Games for $1bn in 2021.

“Scopely is one of the fastest-growing games companies today and we have long admired their ability to build loyal, engaged player communities,” said Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group.

Ward added that Savvy plans to further accelerate Scopely’s ambitions by working together with the company’s “talented team of developers, designers and publishers to create innovative and exciting new products for the gaming community across the world.”

Savvy said Scopely will operate as an “autonomous company” under its umbrella, which includes esports companies ESL and Faceit and Swedish gaming firm Embracer. The company will continue to be led by co-CEOs Walter Driver and Javier Ferreira.

Savvy acquires Scopely gamingScopely is expected to benefit from Savvy’s long-term patient financial backing to deliver on its strategy to grow and deepen existing franchises, unlock new player audiences through innovative game experiences and work with the best talent and studios across the industry through strategic partnerships and acquisitions.

The deal will also build on Scopely’s cross-platform approach to extend its live services expertise to new segments such as PC, Console and other genres of gameplay. Savvy said its latest investment further supports its strategy to drive the growth of the global games industry through long-term strategic investments.

Savvy says the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, will strengthen its ability to deliver new products for the global gaming community. “Savvy’s investments are made to strengthen the core competencies of its partners, enabling them to focus on delivering stand-out services and experiences for their communities and creating new opportunities for progression and participation,” the PIF-backed company said in a statement.

Savvy’s growth strategy

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund founded Savvy Gaming in January 2022 with the intention to develop games locally and abroad. The group has grown exponentially through acquisitions including a $265m stake in Chinese esports company VSPO.

VSPO said the investment made Savvy the single largest equity holder in the company. The Saudi firm bought ESL Gaming, a leading global organizer of entertainment and e-sports events, from MTG for an enterprise value of $1.05bn in January 2022.

Read: Saudi’s PIF launches Savvy Gaming Group to spur gaming, esports sector

Under Savvy’s investment strategy, the group is set to invest $37.85bn (SAR142bn) across four programs each with specific objectives. The company earmarked SAR50bn for acquisition and development of a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner.

Savvy will inject SAR70bn into a series of minority stake investments in key companies that support its development agenda, SAR2bn will go towards diversified investments in industry disruptors and SAR20bn will be invested in mature industry partners who add value and expertise to the company’s portfolio.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister and chairman of Savvy Games Group, said in September 2022 that the company is an integral part of the Saudi Arabian government’s ambitious strategy to make the kingdom a global hub for the games and esports sector by 2030.

Read: Saudi Crown Prince unveils National Gaming and Esports Strategy

Other high-profile deals include the acquisition of an 8.1 per cent stake in Embracer for $1.1 billion, a deal that paved the way for the Swedish gaming firm to set up a regional hub in Saudi Arabia to make investments across the MENA region.

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