Square Enix ready to acquire Taito

by Taiga Uranaka

In the latest move amid industrywide reorganization, Square Enix Co., the maker of the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy video games, announced Monday it will acquire smaller rival Taito Corp. for 67 billion yen.

Square Enix will aim to acquire all Taito shares through a tender offer bid between Tuesday and Sept. 21 at 181,100 yen per share.

Taito, which operates 270 arcades nationwide, is known as the creator of Space Invaders, the arcade video game that became a phenomenon in the early 1980s.

Square Enix was born from a merger of the two major role playing game makers two years ago. The combined sales of Taito and Square Enix stood at 158.42 billion yen for the year ended in March.

Kyocera Corp., Taito’s parent with a 36 percent stake, said it has already agreed to Square Enix’s bid.

After the acquisition, Taito will keep its name and operate as a separate entity under its new parent, the company officials said.

Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix, told a news conference the firm will continue to seek mergers and acquisitions if necessary to survive in an industry undergoing dramatic changes.

Wada explained that the move is part of the firm’s strategy to survive in the rapidly changing industry.

“Video game consoles, cell phones and car navigators . . . game platforms have become very diversified,” he said, and methods of creating and providing game content and services have quite changed accordingly.

Against this background, the acquisition of the arcade operator is expected to bring in new ways to reach consumers, he said, adding that Taito also has a bigger presence than his company in the mobile content business.

The announcement follows the planned merger of Bandai Co. and Namco Ltd. made public in May and the creation of Sega Sammy Holdings Co. last year.