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Posted On: 4/25/2003

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TOKYO -- (Posted April 25) It's back to the future for Sega Corp. as earlier rumors about being purchased by Microsoft are getting a new lease on life. Microsoft executives have reportedly told Sega officials that the U.S. software giant wants to purchase a stake in the Japanese video game manufacturer, according to Japan's Daily Yomiuri. If so, that means Sega now has a total of four suitors: Sammy Corp. and Namco Corp. in Japan, and Electronic Arts and Microsoft in the U.S. Spokesmen from Sega and Microsoft had no comments according to Internet sources, although Sega of America's Gwen Marker was quoted by CNET as saying: "Right now the only offers that are on the table are from Namco and Sammy." Rumors of a Sega-Microsoft deal gained strength four months ago when then-president of Sega of America, Peter Moore, exited Sega to join Microsoft's Xbox division. Last year Microsoft paid $375 million to purchase British game maker Rare. Meanwhile, Sega Corp. held a board meeting earlier this week to discuss the Namco and Sammy bids; Bloomberg News reports that no decision was made. Reliable sources tell VT that Sega's leadership finds the Namco merger idea attractive, even though it poses obvious difficulties (i.e., extricating itself from the promised deal with Sammy).