Posted By Austin Yorski about 2 months, 3 weeks ago
UPDATE 3: OK then. Shaun K. here again and as it turns out SEGA was indeed caught off guard by the announcement of the news before they were ready. SEGA has now issued a press release officially confirming their purchase of Index Holdings and its prominent IPs including of course Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, and Etrian Odyssey. The full press release can be found here but be warned it is a fairly dry and jargon-driven affair.
Note that all of three of the above properties are specifically named in the press release wherein SEGA describes its plans to expand the Atlus IPs further in the PC, mobile (where Atlus already has extensive experience, with 31 mobile titles coming from the company since 2004) and amusement machine (i.e. slot machines, pachinko, etc.) markets. The press release also makes it clear that SEGA intends to pursue such releases in addition to further development and distribution of the properties on home and handheld consoles as well. SEGA will not be taking on Index’s debt and the official transfer of ownership of Index’s assets is expected to occur on November 1st, whereupon the newly launched Sega Dream Corporation will take over all of Index’s former business operations.
So there you have it. SEGA has indeed bought Atlus, but I would caution everyone to calm down and take a deep breath before resuming your freak out. It is clear that SEGA is hardly planning to just sit on these IPs and indeed they are hoping to make a lot of money with them in the years ahead. By all accounts, SEGA has more or less let Relic Entertainment continue to operate as they always have following their acquisition of the popular strategy game developer. Doing so has paid of handsomely for SEGA with Company of Heroes 2 selling over 380,000 copies in Europe and North America in its first five days of sales.
For all we know, SEGA has been holding back on releasing games like Yakuza 5 and Phantasy Star Online 2 in the West precisely because they have been planning to try and buy Atlus for sometime in part to take advantage of Atlus USA’s strong record of localization success.
UPDATE 2: Late breaking news here that appears to possibly throw doubt into the reports of SEGA parent company SEGA Sammy winning the auction to purchase both Atlus and its parent company Index Corporation. This news comes via a post on the official SEGA Sammy website as translated by Operation Rainfall. The translated post is as follows: “Although it’s been reported that this firm’s subsidiary Sega has bought Index Corporation, this has not been officially announced by the company.”
Note that the phrasing of the post is vague enough that all this could mean is that the purchase has yet to be finalized and SEGA Sammy is simply waiting until everything is fully signed off on before making an official announcement of their own. On the other hand, the vagueness of the post could also just be a result of the translation process or it could be that the auction is not as much of a done deal as reports earlier where claiming. What is clear is that at this point it is simply to soon to say with any certainty what is actually going on in relation to Atlus and Index. Count on Blistered Thumbs to continue to follow this story as it develops.
UPDATE 1: Nikkei is reporting that Sega Sammy Holdings won the bid for Japanese developer/publisher Atlus, as well as the assets of their parent company, Index Corporation. The acquisition supposedly cost the firm 14 billion yen, which is noticeable lower than previous reports which projected Sega as being a frontrunner in a 20 billion yen contest.
ORIGINAL STORY: As we previously reported, Index Holdings fast-tracked the sale of developer/publisher Atlus (Shin Megami Tensei, Catherine) in an attempt to repay debt in the face of its impending fraud investigation. The latest news out of Japan is that the auction for the company has taken place, with about 20 different firms putting in bids of up to 20 billion yen ($200 million). That is about 30% more than projected estimates of the sales price going into the bankruptcy proceedings.
At this time, Sega is the only confirmed entity to be involved. This does not necessarily give the Sonic the Hedgehog publisher any particular edge, although it is worth mentioning that Sega owns a notable piece of Index’s debt. Executives “familiar with the situation” are reporting that the results of the auction will be announced as early as next week, but it could take until the end of the month. It is unlikely that we will ever know the details of the unsuccessful bids and bidders.
We will keep you updated as this story goes forward.
Source: Bloomberg Japan