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SEGA SHARES LEAP; SEGA DENIES MICROSOFT REPORTS

Posted On: 3/1/2003

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TOKYO - (Posted March 1) Stock prices for Sega Corp. rose over 15 percent Friday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange following a report in the Asian Wall Street Journal that Microsoft is actively exploring its options to buy the video game giant. Microsoft executives met with Sega's leadership two weeks ago with an investment offer, said the AWSJ. Followup meetings are expected within weeks. Also touted by the publication as a possible Sega buyer is Electronic Arts. Rumors about interest by both suitors have swirled around Sega for months but the newspaper's story was the first detailed, credible account to confirm that Microsoft in particular is seriously contemplating acquisition. The report said Microsoft has checked its options in this regard with one or more American investment banks. However the Associated Press said Sega officials denied any interest in a takeover bid by either Sega or Microsoft, explaining that Sega intends to continue with announced plans for a merger with Japanese pachinko manufacturer Sammy Corp.