SQUARE ENIX MOVES TO ACQUIRE TAITO
TOKYO - Consumer video game manufacturer Square Enix Co. said Monday it will acquire Taito Corp. for 67 billion yen or approximately $606 million. During the next month, Square seeks to buy up all Taito shares through a tender offer bid that is 12.5% over the latest stock price. According to the Japan Times, Taito's parent Kyocera Corp. (which holds a 36% stake) has approved Square's bid. If the takeover succeeds, Taito will be de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange and become Square Enix's wholly owned subsidiary. Taito, most famous for its "Space Invaders" arcade hit of 1980, operates 270 arcades across Japan and continues to make hit coin-op and consumer video games, although it closed its U.S. distribution office some years ago and has released coin-op product through Betson of late. Square president Yoichi Wada noted that game platforms now span from consoles to cell phones and car navigators, and that he would seek additional acquisition targets.
ELAUT ACQUIRES MONDIAL'S STAKE IN MONDUCE
EDISON, NJ , Belgium-based manufacturer Elaut Amusement Games has purchased all of Mondial International's stock in the Monduce organization, one of the largest operators and concessionaires of coin-operated equipment to the amusement and theme park industries. The purchase of what is described as an "equity stake" in Monduce will give Elaut a brick-and-mortar home base in the U.S., officials said. Bruce Kawut will remain Monduce CEO. Elaut's Neal Rosenberg will join Monduce as president, while retaining his role as director of Elaut's USA division, and will oversee the integration of both units under one roof in Edison. Richard Listash will remain Monduce's vice-president and director of operations, while Mondial's Knut Danielsen will join Monduce as treasurer and CFO. Monduce's executive offices in Pelham Manor, NY, will be closed. Effective immediately, all of the staff of Monduce can be reached at tel. (732) 494-4900. Rosenberg can also be reached at (516) 764-7888. Mondial International will maintain its office in Pelham Manor.
Mondial International's Robert Fesjian decided to exit operations following the death of Mondial's Richard Sarkisian a few months ago. Elaut is led by the Verstraeten family, which has had a longtime relationship with Kawut and Monduce; Rosenberg spearheaded the acquisition. Elaut recently completed the acquisition of the Ballentine organization in Germany, making Elaut one of Europe's largest operators of amusement devices in the amusement park arena. Monduce operations include unique remote-controlled truck and boat attractions within theme park arcades for longtime clients such as Anheuser-Busch (Sea World and Busch Gardens), Paramount Parks, Walt Disney World Attractions and the Six Flags group.
MANUFACTURERS NEWS AND NOTES
Incredible Technologies has created a special DVD-format catalog that showcases its entire 2005 product line. An easily viewed video provides everything from game features to regional earnings reports and more on "Golden Tee Live," "Silver Strike Bowling" and "Call of the Wild." Operators can use this DVD, which includes testimonials from leading operators, as a multimedia brochure to prospective locations. The free DVD is available by calling tel. (847) 870-7027 ext. 106'
Gary Benson, tournament director for the Valley National Eight-Ball Association, conducted a league workshop for VNEA operators Aug. 12 through 15 at the Bay Valley Hotel & Resort in Bay City, MI. Route owners and league coordinators representing 26 charter holders from 16 different states and two Canadian provinces attended eight seminars on how to strengthen existing leagues and start new ones, taught by VNEA executives and a panel of operators that collectively offered more than 150 years of league experience'
Triotech Amusement has added three new movies to the library for its "XD Theater" multi-seat 3D motion simulated thrill ride. Included are "Ocean Jungle" and "Aquaride," both undersea voyages that offer encounters with fantasy and real sea creatures, respectively; and "Journey thru the Center of the Earth," an underground adventure. The platform's original package includes three classic 3D ride films: "Cosmic Coaster," "Haunted Mine" and "Arctic Run"'
The state of Washington Gambling Commission has approved operation of UltraCade Technologies' "Breeders' Cup , Tournament Edition" horse racing game throughout the state, including the game's worldwide online Tournament Network. Results of tests by government authorities "certify that 'Breeders' Cup' is a game of skill," said UltraCade CEO David Foley. A machine locator is available online at http://www.ultracade.com/bc'
JVL Corp.'s "Gone Fishing" touchscreen countertop game will be released in two new versions. JVL and Tsunami Visual Technologies will jointly market an upright "bar version" featuring a 19-in. monitor and the same gameplay as the original. TVT alone will market a redemption version under a worldwide exclusive.
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