Saudi-Backed Group Merging ESL, FACEIT in $1.5B Deal

ESL Gaming/Design: Alex Brooks
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Savvy Gaming Group has purchased esports tournament and league operators ESL and FACEIT for a combined $1.5 billion to form the ESL FACEIT Group.

Fully backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Savvy Gaming will “fuel ESL FACEIT Group growth with significant long-term investment.” The company was formed in 2021.

ESL Gaming, which reportedly made up $1 billion of the total, formed in 2020 after ESL merged with Dreamhack — both were owned by the Modern Times Group.

  • ESL is reportedly one of the biggest esports tournament organizers in the world, primarily known for its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 tournaments as well as the ESL Pro League. 
  • FACEIT, which is privately owned, also hosts tournaments for CS:GO, League of Legends, Rocket League, and others.

The deal is expected to close in Q2 2022 pending regulatory approval.

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Investments

The country’s sovereign wealth fund is led by Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia, who has described himself as part of the country’s first generation of gamers. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the PIF acquired $3.3 billion worth of stock in Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive

The PIF also recently purchased the Premier League’s Newcastle United for $409 million.

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