Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund acquires majority stake in Magic Leap

In Augmented Reality News 

December 30, 2022 – The Telegraph reported this week that Saudi Arabia has taken control of spatial computing company Magic Leap.

According to the Telegraph, during the course of its recent funding rounds, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF) took a stake of more than 50 percent in Magic Leap, giving the PIF overall majority control. The accounts also noted that: “As of November 2022, the PIF is entitled to appoint four of the eight directors of the board of directors of Magic Leap.”

In 2018, Saudi Arabia was the lead investor in a USD $400 million funding round for the company. Since then, Magic Leap has undergone significant restructuring. The company originally set out to make consumer augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) headsets with the initial offering of its Magic Leap One device, but pivoted in 2020 in order to focus on its enterprise business offerings.

Magic Leap also had to lay off several employees during the coronavirus pandemic, and has since hired Peggy Johnson as its new CEO to replace the company’s founder Rony Abovitz. Since the hiring of Johnson, the company has continued to raise funds, with the Telegraph reporting that based on delayed accounts for Magic Leap’s European division, the company raised USD $150 million in preferred convertible stock and $300 million in debt “to date in 2022”. The Telegraph also noted that the funding has not previously been disclosed by Magic Leap. This all follows the raising of USD $500 million by the company in 2021.

Earlier this year the company released its Magic Leap 2 enterprise augmented reality platform, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia being one of the countries outside the US where the AR headset was available at launch.

In a blog post this month written by Magic Leap’s CEO titled “What’s Next for Magic Leap,” Johnson stated: “There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming year as the growth of our company and industry accelerates. We’re seeing increasing demand for AR solutions today, and we’re working closely with developers to create new opportunities with AR. We are also growing our team with engineering, software, and product talent that will help us to continue to be the leader in AR technology.”

Johnson added, “Magic Leap is well-positioned to lead the market and power our industry forward. We have put in place the right strategy working closely with enterprise customers and developers.”

Despite the news, Johnson did not allude to any change in ownership for the company in the blog post. Seemingly now owned and backed by a government, Magic Leap’s CEO will be speaking on multiple panels focused on the metaverse at the World Economic Forum in January 2023, where the company’s Magic Leap 2 device will be demonstrated as a solution for other government service providers.

Magic Leap will also be attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, where it will have a two story booth and will be showcasing some of the latest AR solutions on Magic Leap 2, including BrainLab, Manifest by Taqtile, Cisco Webex Hologram, and NVIDIA’s Omniverse. The company will also be debuting Magic Leap Assist, its remote assistance reference application.

For more information on Magic Leap and its enterprise augmented reality platform, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Magic Leap / Wikipedia

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.