Bandai Namco Talks Strategy, Banpresto Takeover
02.26.06 - 1:08 AM

At a press conference in Tokyo the management of Bandai Namco Holdings shed some light on to the company's future strategy. For the full fiscal year ending on March 31st, the company projects a consolidated net profit of 11 billion yen (92.72 billion US) on sales of 450 billion yen (3.79 billion US). Both figures are lower than previous estimates. While Bandai's toy hobby and movie and music divisions posted profits, Namco's (home console) game and entertainment center divisions were struggling, resulting in lower than expected revenue and profit.

Looking ahead at the three-year period from 2006 until 2008, chairman Takeo Takasu aims to boost revenue generated by operations outside Japan from currently 18.4% to 25%. For the year 2008 he aims at sales of 550 billion yen ($4.64 billion US) and an operating profit of 58 billion yen ($488.87 million US). Looking further ahead, Takasu sees even more growth potential for Bandai Namco. Therefore, he forecasts annual sales of 1,000 billion yen ($8.43 billion US) and an operating profit of 100 billion yen ($842.88 million US). By then he projects half of Bandai Namco's sales being generated abroad. To accomplish these lofty goals, the company will employ a so-called "Entertainment Hub" strategy. Focussing on highly successful IPs like Gundam and Tamagotchi, it plans to link various media formats, like anime, games and television programs with each other. This strategy won't be limited to Bandai Namco, as the company will actively seek cooperations with other companies. If this "Cross Entertainment" philosophy sounds familiar, it should, as it is pretty much the same as Square Enix's "polymorphic content".

Returning to the not so pleasant current results of the fiscal year, Takasu admitted that many high profile titles missed their sales targets. To make sure this does not repeat itself in the future, Bandai Namco will offer a line-up of games that meet customer needs. Furthermore, the opportunities offered by the market for casual users should be effectively exploited. Third, a balance between games for current- and next-generation consoles needs to be found.

In order to further strengthen its consumer game division, the company today announced a take-over bid for Banpresto. Bandai currently owns a 51% stake in the makers of Super Robot Taisen, but aims to acquire the remaining 49% in the future, thereby making Banpresto a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Chris Winkler

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