Nintendo Purchase of Bandai Stock Back in the News

posted on by Christopher Macdonald
Family of Bandai Founder Speaks Out

Makoto Yamashina, son of the founder of Bandai, has spoken out against the recent sale of Bandai stocks to Nintendo. According to Yamashina the sale caused significant friction at the Bandai board of directors. Yamashina was against the sale and refused requests from Bandai CEO, Takeo Takasu, that he sell a large portion of his own shares to Nintendo. He states that he argued against Takasu at Bandai board meetings and questioned the timing and motivation of the purchase.

In an interview with Japanese news magazine Sentaku, Yamashina voiced concerns that Nintendo's stake in Bandai may hurt Bandai's close working relationship with Playstation manufacturer Sony. Additionally, he claims that Bandai is currently considering a stock buy-back program and suggests that Bandai should merely have bought back the 2.7% instead of allowing Nintendo to purchase it.

Nintendo now owns 2.7% of Bandai, while Yamashina owns 5.2%. The UFJ Bank, with whom Nintendo worked to acquire its shares, owns a further 6% of Bandai's common stock. If Yamashina had agreed to sell the 2% that had been requested of him, Nintendo would have owned 4.7%. Already, Nintendo and UFJ's combined 8.7% is thought to be the largest single voting block of Bandai's widely dispersed shares. Despite only owning 2.7% of Bandai, if Nintendo is working with UFJ towards a strategic takeover of Bandai, they are actually in a very strong position to do so.

According to the article in Sentaku, "industry insiders" agree with Yamashina's suspicions that Nintendo and UFJ are in fact attempting a takeover of Bandai. It should be noted that Takeo Takasu moved to Bandai from UFJ in 1996. Unlike in North America, it is extremely rare for the heads of Japanese corporations to have not been with the companies for many many years first. Ironically, it was Yamashina, then CEO of Bandai, that recruited Takasu.

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