Saudi Arabia-based gaming and e-sports company Savvy Games Group, which is fully owned Saudi wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), is investing $265 million in Chinese tournament operator VSPO.
The deal will make Savvy Games the single largest equity holder in VSPO and is aligned with the Saudi firm's vision to make the kingdom a global hub for the games and e-sports sector by 2030.
Founded in 2016, VSPO is one of Asia’s biggest tournament operators. It has developed a number of long-term partnerships with top-tier developers from China, Korea, and South East Asia, including Tencent, Garena, and Krafton
Savvy’s strategy is to drive growth by investing in the electronic games industry and e-sports with a unique long term investment horizon and long dated capital, creating more opportunities for participation and strengthening partnerships in the games industry, as well as improving the user experience, according to its website.
Details regarding the equity percentage of the Savvy Games-VSPO deal has not been revealed. The transaction is expected to close in the coming months subject to regulatory clearances and approvals.
Savvy's investment will help VSPO continue to deliver on its global strategy and accelerate the growth of mobile e-sports with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia. VSPO will also use this funding to invest in pioneering new technology to further enhance the fan experience, according to a statement to the media.
"This investment is one part of the ambitious plan that will enable and support the e-sports ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. Attracting international companies to Saudi Arabia through investments and partnerships will contribute to providing skills, knowledge transfer and building capabilities in the whole ecosystem,” Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Vice Chairman of Savvy Games Group, said.
The transaction marks the biggest cash investment ever made in an e-sports organisation.
Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group, said: “This is a significant transaction for Savvy, and gives us a major foothold in the important Asia region. We are looking forward to diversifying our geographic footprint alongside VSPO."
“This historic investment will strengthen our ambitious global strategy, with a particular focus on Asia and the Middle East, where we will support Savvy’s vision to grow e-sports throughout this incredibly dynamic and young region,” he said.
(Reporting by Seban Scaria email@example.com; editing by Daniel Luiz)