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Bankrupt Gamemaker Index Said to Draw Interest From Sega

Index Corp., the bankrupt Japanese developer of handheld games trying to sell itself, has drawn interest from about 20 potential bidders including Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said.

Index will pick a shortlist of preferred bidders in the next two weeks and aims to reach an agreement by the end of August, said the people, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Prospective buyers made first-round offers of as much as 20 billion yen ($201 million) this week, one of the people said.

Index, based in Tokyo, develops software for Nintendo Co.’s 3-D handheld players and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation as well as smartphone applications. It was forced to seek court protection from creditors 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 on the planned sale. Tetsuya Hasegawa, a spokesman for Sega Sammy, also declined to comment.

The acquisition would give Sega 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 the “Snowboard Kids HD” for mobile devices.

Index has been investigated by Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission on suspicion that it falsified financial reports, according to a June 12 statement. Index shares have been delisted, and were last traded on July 26 after plunging 97 percent this year.

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