Saturday, June 25, 2022

With the backing of Saudi wealth fund, Savvy Gaming Group buys ESL

A massive deal took place on Monday when Savvy Gaming Group bought ESL from Sweden’s Modern Times Group for $1 billion, according to a report by Handelsblatt. The Savvy Gaming Group is financially supported by the Public Investment Fund, a Saudi sovereign wealth fund. SGG’s CEO is Brian Ward, a former senior vice president at Activision. With the new ownership, ESL and FACEIT will also merge to form the ESL FACEIT Group. The new deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, according to one Notice from the ESL FACEIT group.

Modern Times Group bought a majority stake in ESL in 2015. From that point on, ESL continued to operate independently as the company’s esports division.

Based in Cologne, Germany, ESL is one of the most established organizers of esports tournaments worldwide. They are known for hosting tournaments in games like Dota 2, Starcraft II, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, among others. ESL recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, one of the first dedicated eSports tournaments.

Handelsblatt also reports that the Saudis are buying FACEIT for an estimated $500 million. FACEIT is an eSports company that organizes games at amateur and recreational levels. They run leagues for games like CS:GO, League of Legends, and Rocket League.

The Saudi PIF is one of the largest in the world, at approximately 10,000,000,000,000 500 billion dollars in current assets. Another PIF-backed group, NEOM, was set to work with the League of Legends European Championship before public and community outcry forced Riot Games rethink.

The Modern Times Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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