Nintendo Stock Rout Costs Billionaire Yamauchi $300 Million in Single Day

Former Nintendo Co. President Hiroshi Yamauchi’s wealth may have plunged more than $300 million today after the flop of the 3DS player forced the company to slash its profit forecast.

The value of Nintendo shares held by Yamauchi, the company’s largest single shareholder and great-grandson of the founder, tumbled 24.2 billion yen ($312 million) after the stock’s plunge today in Osaka trading. Yamauchi, 83, owned 14.17 million shares, or 10 percent of Kyoto-based Nintendo, as of March 31, according to regulatory data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nintendo yesterday said it will cut the price of the five- month-old 3DS by as much as 40 percent to spur demand for the handheld player, and it slashed its profit forecast 82 percent. Satoru Iwata, who succeeded Yamauchi as president in 2002, is facing mounting competition from Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and iPad, and online games played on Facebook Inc.’s service.

Yamauchi, who ran Nintendo for 53 years, was Japan’s sixth- richest man with an estimated fortune of $4.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s latest rich list. The former owner of the Seattle Mariners baseball team led the Forbes Japan rich list in 2008.

Nintendo officials weren’t immediately available to comment on whether Yamauchi’s holdings in the company have changed since March 31.

Nintendo plunged 12 percent to 12,290 yen as of the 3:10 p.m. close on the Osaka Securities Exchange. That’s the biggest drop since January 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kazuyo Sawa in Tokyo at ksawa3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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