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Posted On: 4/17/2003

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TOKYO -- (Posted April 17) Namco Ltd. announced today that it has tendered a merger bid to longtime rival and sometime ally Sega Corp., according to numerous wire reports. The move comes nine weeks after Sega's president signed an agreement in principle for Sega to merge with Sammy Corp. According to Forbes, "A Sega-Namco merger would rank fifth in the market (i.e, the overall Japanese economy) with annual sales of 350 billion yen ($2.9 billion) and market capitalization of $1.74 billion, similar to that of Square-Enix." (The latter two merged on April 1.) A merged Sega-Namco would be the largest video game manufacturer in Japan, surpassing Konami, which currently holds the lead. Sega-Namco would also be Japan's largest arcade operator with 30 percent of sites, Forbes reported. On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Sega stock prices, which fell after the Sammy merger announcement, have reportedly jumped 15 percent following the news of Namco's offer. Sources quoted Sega officials who said they are "studying" the Namco offer but have set no timetable for action.