Sega Said to Win Auction to Buy Bankrupt Japan Gamemaker Index

Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. (6460) won an auction to buy Index Corp., the bankrupt Japanese developer of handheld games, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The acquisition may be valued at about 14 billion yen ($141 million), said one of the people, who asked not to be identified before an announcement scheduled for as early as today. Index’s bankruptcy advisers plan to complete a deal with Sega Corp., a unit of Sega Sammy, in early November, they said.

Index develops software for Nintendo Co. (7974)’s 3-D handheld players and Sony Corp. (6758)’s PlayStation as well as smartphone applications. The company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in part because of investment losses from earlier acquisitions, Index said on June 27.

Kazumasa Otsuka, a lawyer at Nijubashi Partners representing Index in bankruptcy, declined to comment, as did Tetsuya Hasegawa, a spokesman for Sega Sammy.

Sega Sammy beat suitors including J Trust Co. for Index in a deal that gives it access to game developers and titles for both mobile devices and consoles. Japanese software makers are trying to speed up development of digital games as consumers shift to play them with smartphones and tablet computers. Index’s titles include the “Shin Megami Tensei” role-playing game for Nintendo’s 3DS handheld player and “Snowboard Kids HD” for mobile devices.

Index drew interest from about 20 potential bidders including Sega Sammy in the first round of the auction, people familiar with the process said Aug. 2.

Founded in 1995, Index expanded by making acquisitions at home and abroad, and raised funds through share sales to domestic companies such as Hakuhodo DY Holdings Inc. (2433), Dentsu Inc. and NEC Corp. (6701), according to its website.

Index, with debt totaling 24.5 billion yen as of May 31, filed for bankruptcy protection with the Tokyo district court on June 27, according to its statement that day. The company hired GCA Savvian Corp. (2174) to advise it on the sale, it said in July.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shigeru Sato in Tokyo at ssato10@bloomberg.net; Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net; Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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