Embracer Group boss Lars Wingefors has issued a lengthy statement regarding the recent £840 million investment in the company by the Savvy Gaming Group, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s controversial Public Investment Fund.

Embracer, which was founded in Sweden, is a massive umbrella corporation that owns over 100 studios, including Borderlands developer Gearbox, publishing groups such as THQ Nordic, Koch Media, and Saber Interactive, and franchises such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex.

Meanwhile, the Savvy Gaming Group (SGG) is a gaming-focused arm of the Saudi investment fund established by the controversial Prince Mohammed bin Salman in order to diversify and modernize the country’s foreign earnings.

Its investment in Embracer, announced last week, amounts to 8.1 percent of the company’s total shares, with 5.4 percent voting rights.

Saudi Arabia now owns similar stakes in a number of other game developers, including EA, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive, Capcom, and Nintendo, but each time, eyebrows are raised.

“I have received many questions since our announcement two days ago regarding the investment by Savvy Gaming Group (SGG),” Wingefors begins his lengthy statement. “I’d like to give you some context and explain why we made this decision.” I recognize and respect the fact that there are various points of view on this subject. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I want it to be clear that this was not a hasty decision. I appreciate the opportunity to explain why this investment is a critical step for Embracer on our ongoing journey as a company.

“I want to be clear that Embracer will continue to be run by myself, our operations and maintenance CEOs, and management teams from across the Group. Embracer is founded on the values of liberty, inclusion, humanity, and openness. This is unchanged by the transaction with SGG.”

Wingefors stated that the investment was made to support Embracer’s current strategy rather than to change it.

“Over the last few days, I’ve been asked why we’re accepting investment from a non-democratic country,” he continued. “To begin, we must look in the mirror; we are a public company with hundreds of institutions from all over the world as shareholders, including investors from the Middle East and Africa (MENA) and Asia regions.” Many of them have taken part in capital raising in recent years. Many more have joined through the open market.

“During the process, we found that SGG’s parent, PIF, is one of the world’s largest investors, with stakes in many of our larger gaming peers.” We genuinely believe that SGG, as a fully commercial entity, has genuine gaming ambitions in supporting the global ecosystem for our industry that are consistent with and important to our industry’s values and culture. SGG is making a significant, long-term capital investment to support our strategy and management, allowing us to continue the successful growth of our commercial businesses. As a Swedish entrepreneur, my values are unwavering.

As a Swedish entrepreneur, my values are unwavering. We are a value-based organization, and we will always be committed to a decentralized operating model that allows great people to make their own decisions.”

The CIA has blamed Saudi Arabia and in particular its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. During his reign, the country maintained its notoriously poor human rights record, with homosexuality still being criminalized and punishable by floggings to the death penalty.


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