Ascii to join CSK group

Ascii Corp., a major game software maker and a publisher of computer magazines, will become part of the group led by major information service firm CSK Corp. by issuing new shares to CSK and game machine giant Sega Enterprises Ltd., the three companies announced Thursday.

The CSK group, which earlier this year failed to realize a planned merger of Sega and Bandai Co., the nation’s top toy company, hopes to utilize software developed by Ascii to diversify its services and meet demand for multimedia.

CSK holds 20 percent of Sega’s shares. By receiving the CSK group’s investment, Ascii hopes to strengthen its financial standing, which has been suffering from accumulated debts of 37.1 billion yen incurred through aggressive investment in diversified areas such as entertainment and real estate development.

In January, Ascii will increase its capital by issuing 11 million new shares. The firm will allocate 5.5 million shares worth 4.79 billion yen to CSK and 3.5 million shares worth 3.05 billion yen to Sega, they said.

As a result of investment, the combined shareholding ratio of CSK, Sega and Isao Okawa, chairman of CSK and Sega, will be 45 percent of Ascii’s shares. “By combining the rich resources of the three companies, we can expect maximum synergy effects,” said Okawa. “We are competing with Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., and we are also looking at Walt Disney Co. and Hollywood,” he said. “To compete with those rivals, we must combine our resources and power.”

Kazuhiko Nishi, president and founder of Ascii, said that considering the current severe economic conditions, Ascii is very fortunate to have a partner like CSK. “This is the best Christmas present I’ve received in my life,” Nishi said.