Saudi Arabia now owns 96% of SNK

Mohammad bin Salman is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia: the leader of a country that represses human rightsa man linked to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggiand a fan of China’s Xinjiang re-education camps. He is also now, through Electronic Gaming Development Company (EGDC), the ultimate owner of iconic game developer and publisher SNK.

EGDC first acquired a 33.3% stake in SNK in November 2020 and at the time announced that it planned to buy more shares. In February of this year, it did so, raising its stake to nearly 96%.

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SNK is probably best known now for King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown, but it’s also behind the singular vision of Neo-Geo consoles, which were brilliant machines, inevitably aspirational and incredibly expensive. SNK and Neo-Geo stood for quality above all else. The company would eventually go bankrupt in the early 2000s, squeezed out of the hardware and forced into various corporate shenanigans to keep the brand alive – and indeed, a bright note in recent years has been that SNK’s heritage, with excellent titles like Samurai Shodown reboot , looked vibrant once more.

So it’s very sad to see it all end up in the hands of Mohammed bin Salman (opens in new tab). EGDC bought shares worth approximately $430 million for this majority stake, and SNK is not alone in being courted by Saudi money: the regime has large investments in companies such as Activision Blizzard (approximately $3 billion in shares), EA ($1.9 billion), Take-Two ($1 billion). A positive point is Riot Games, which ended a partnership with the planned Saudi Arabian cross-border city of Neom after fans pointed out Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses.

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