Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi fund buys into US gaming and e-payments firms

Saudi PIF US firms Reuters/Matthew Tostevin
PIF accelerated its acquisition of shares in video games publisher EA early this year
  • Public Investment Fund ups value of US holdings by 14%
  • PIF increased its holdings in EA and PayPal
  • US holdings represent 6% of $620bn of assets under management

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has bought shares in gaming, electronic payment and alternative energy companies, increasing the value of its US holdings by 14 percent in the first three months of this year.

The total value of holdings held by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in US listed companies was $35.52 billion as of March 31, its most recent filing to the US regulator shows. 

That is up from $30.9 billion at the end of 2022 but down from $43.49 billion a year earlier, according to AGBI calculations based on regulatory data that excludes the $40.3 million of debt securities PIF held in Carnival Corp, in addition to its stake in the cruise operator.

PIF had assets under management of $620 billion as of March 31, 2022, according to its website, meaning the US holdings represented just under 6 percent of its total value.

PIF, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is both an opportunistic and long term strategic investor in US equities.

The fund owns sizeable stakes in nascent, loss-making businesses such as ride hailing service Uber and electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors, as well as in established companies in myriad industries including financial services and tourism.

In the first quarter of 2023 PIF tripled its holdings in Singapore-based e-commerce and gaming company Sea Ltd, but sold all its shares in ecommerce fashion retailer Farfetch.

Saudi PIFReuters/Hyunjoo Jin
PIF owns stakes in loss-making electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors

The fund also bought into Californian hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy Corp – Saudi Arabia is building an $8.5 billion green hydrogen plant that will be the world’s largest.

“This ties into Saudi’s broader investments in alternative energy and new technologies that it believes will be part of the economic and energy mix in future,” said Rachel Ziemba, founder of Ziemba Insights, a New York-based advisory firm. 

“That doesn’t mean Saudi thinks we’ll stop needing oil, but that it can co-exist with alternatives – it’s not an either-or situation.”

PIF’s last few US Securities and Exchange Commission filings show it has not made many new share purchases.

“There continues to be some relatively small investments, but not the big ones like before,” said Ziemba.

PIF nearly doubled its holdings in Electronic Arts (EA) over the 12 months to March 31 2023, taking its stake to $2.99 billion.

“PIF continues to invest in consumer technology sectors. It has been in and out of EA for a while but hasn’t invested much recently in the financial sector and banks, which was probably wise,” Ziemba said.

PIF also upped its holdings in PayPal more than eightfold year-on-year, with its stake in the payments company worth $569.3 million as of March 31.

The fund sold nearly one-third of its Visa shares over the same period and also divested entirely from Hyzon Motors.

“PIF is interested in different ecommerce (platforms),” said Ziemba, also highlighting its stake in Shopify.

Saudi’s PIF investments in US household names

Saudi PIFReuters/Dado Ruvi/Illustration
PIF upped its holdings in PayPal eightfold year-on-year
Company/brandValue by end of Q1 2023 ($m)
Lucid Group 8916.4
Electronic Arts                2988.1
Uber                            2309.0
Live Nation                     879.5
PayPal                           569.3
Fedex Corp                 257.6
Visa Inc                      215.2
Alibaba Group               105.8
Walmart                          116.5
Pinterest Inc               110.5
Adobe Inc                442.1
Zoom                              346.8
Costco                  515.0
Starbucks                      657.4
Microsoft                        532.06
Alphabet                     441.8
The Home Depot           484.5
BlackRock                  496.2
Salesforce Inc               529.46
JPMorgan Chase & Co     501.8
Amazon420.1

Latest articles

Flooding in Dubai affected many people's homes. Emaar has promised .free repairs for its residents, and an upgraded sewerage system is planned

Emaar promises free repairs as Dubai launches sewerage system

Emaar Properties is offering free repairs to residents whose homes were damaged during this week’s extreme flooding, as Dubai also announced a AED80 billion ($22 billion) sewerage system, following a review of infrastructure ordered by the UAE president. The developer, which is listed on the Dubai stock exchange, announced on Friday it would repair all […]

Construction work in Kuwait. Nurseries, schools and shops are being built for the new residential district of Al Metlaa

Kuwait signs $140m contracts for Al Metlaa development

Kuwait’s Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) has signed two contracts worth KD42 million ($140 million) to construct public buildings in Al Metlaa, a new residential district north of Kuwait City. Nurseries, stores, schools and shops will be included, state news agency Kuna reported. Electricity connections have been provided for 109 buildings in the district, […]

Iraq gas oil

Iraq to auction 30 oil and gas projects this month

Iraq will auction 30 new oil and gas projects in two licensing rounds before the end of April. The bidding round will be held on April 27, Reuters reported, citing an oil ministry statement. Last October Iraq passed a long-awaited oil and gas law, which will help the country attract more international investments into the hydrocarbon industry and boost government revenues.  Ali Metwally, an […]

Workers at Cano Limon oil field in eastern Colombia. Oil is one of the country's largest exports

UAE strikes Colombia deal to strengthen Latin American links

The UAE has strengthened trade relations with Latin America after signing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Colombia, just days after a Cepa deal was struck with Costa Rica. Officials from the UAE and Colombia put pen to paper on an agreement that will cut tariffs and remove trade barriers between the two countries. UAE […]