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Nintendo Urged by Hedge Fund to Create App Store Games

Nintendo Co. shocked investors in January when it predicted an annual loss, cut sales projections for hardware and games, and said it’s considering a new business model. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Nintendo Co. shocked investors in January when it predicted an annual loss, cut sales projections for hardware and games, and said it’s considering a new business model. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Nintendo Co. is ignoring “compelling evidence” that “Super Mario” and its other video games would sell on smartphones and tablets, according to a Hong Kong hedge-fund manager who urged the company to shift gears.

Seth Fischer, chief investment officer of Oasis Management Co., called on Nintendo President Satoru Iwata in a letter yesterday to begin selling its games on Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads and devices using Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Nintendo shares fell.

“As the holder of what is arguably the largest library of casual games, Nintendo is well placed to make an immediate entry into mobile,” Fischer told the Kyoto, Japan-based company.

While some investors and analysts urged Nintendo to license its games for smartphones and tablets, Iwata last month said the world’s largest maker of video-game machines will instead seek partners to expand licensing of its characters for uses outside the video-game industry.

“Nintendo will consider specific requests made to the company, but we are not planning to announce the result of our consideration,” said Yasuhiro Minagawa, a Kyoto-based spokesman.

Nintendo fell 3.9 percent to close at 12,490 yen in Tokyo trading, extending an 11 percent drop this year. The Topix index lost 0.7 percent.

Fischer, who said his company is an adviser to Nintendo shareholders he didn’t identify, is seeking a meeting to discuss the company’s strategy, according to the letter.

Reuters reported on the letter yesterday.

Nintendo shocked investors in January when it predicted an annual loss, cut sales projections for hardware and games, and said it’s considering a new business model. The company completed a 114 billion-yen ($1.1 billion) share buyback Feb. 3 as members of the founding Yamauchi family sold some stock.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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