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Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to acquire controlling stake of SNK

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • November 27, 2020 at 12:06 p.m. PST • Comments: 53

SNK is set to have a controlling stake of its company acquired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The Japanese video game firm known for major franchises such as The King of Fighters and Metal Slug has reportedly seen 33.3% of its shares picked up by non-profit-organization The Mohammed bin Salman Charity Foundation.

Reports of the deal began surfacing yesterday, and the foundation's official website has since confirmed its existence and legitimacy.

According to Game Industry, The Mohammed bin Salman Charity Foundation has invested 813 million Saudi riyals ($223 million) in SNK. This is the first step in what will be an eventual controlling stake of 51% for the foundation as it was written into the deal that a further 17.7% of SNK's shares is slated to be purchased.

This deal was put into place through the Electronic Games Development Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MiSK Foundation — which was founded by Mohammed bin Salman.

Mohammed bin Salman acquiring a controlling stake of SNK may ultimately spark controversy due to accusations of multiple human rights violations having been made against the country's leader.

Back in 2000, SNK was purchased by a pachinko company, which saw its popular characters strewn across various Japanese gambling machines. The company was then acquired by Chinese joint venture Leyou Millenium in 2015, who aimed to explore other forms of media instead of focusing strictly on video games with the acquisition.

Leyou Millenium made a promise for more games, movies, and TV shows, and over the last five years we've seen a new major installment in the Samurai Shodown series released, Terry Bogard join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a CGI King of Fighters film release, and even King of Fighters 15 enter development.

Reports earlier this year claimed that Sony had its sights set on acquiring Leyou Technologies, which ultimately led many to believe that the gaming juggernaut would also gain ownership of SNK. We learned that SNK would not be involved in this deal, however, as Leyou Technologies terminated their term sheet agreement with Ledo Millennium on August 10, 2015, shortly after Ledo purchased the majority of SNK's shares, leaving Leyou Technologies unaffiliated with SNK.

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