Is a Nintendo-Apple Merger in the Cards?

Is a Nintendo-Apple Merger in the Cards?

Envision a force that’s powerful enough to take over the world. Godzilla crossed with Mothra. A tiger shark crossed with a Tyrannosaurs Rex.

Apple crossed with Nintendo.

Could that last terrifying cross-breed ever come into being? “Impossible,” you scoff. “We’re more likely to see Godzilla produce offspring with that giant moth-thing.”

A Nintendo-Apple merger is unlikely, but it’s not exactly impossible. And if something isn’t outright impossible in the world of tech–say, Steve Jobs carving his name on the Moon with a big laser (and that’s a scenario that can switch from “impossible” to a mere “improbable” in the span of a day)–then we have to lean back and think about the circumstances that would lead up to a merger.

For one thing, Nintendo’ stock is dropping to a record low. IndustryGamers points out the stock is almost at “GameCube Levels,” as it currently sits at $19.01 a share down from its 2007-2008 range of $60-$70 a share.

“As Nintendo’s share price continues to plummet, it is fair to ask if they are an acquisition target,” Panoptic Management Consultants CEO Asif Khan told IndustryGamers in early August. “With a market capitalization around $20 billion, there are a handful of tech companies that could afford to make an offer. Apple, Google, and Microsoft would be the leading candidates in my opinion. Another less likely outcome could be a merger with Panasonic or Sony as neither of those companies could afford to buy Nintendo outright.”

Khan told IndustryGamers that Jobs had mulled over a fantasy purchase of Nintendo when they spoke at last year’s Apple shareholder meeting. “Jobs has been quite agnostic about video gaming for years but he did say that a strategic alliance, if profitable, would make more sense with Nintendo.”

So a merger with Apple can happen, but the real question is, will it happen?

Nintendo is a long-term, er, admirer of Apple’s work, but it’s also fiercely independent. It’s not likely the company would even consider a merger until after it witnesses the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the Wii U. Moreover, an Apple-Nintendo merger would only happen–and pardon the expression–over Hiroshi Yamauchi’s dead body.

Khan agrees. “Hiroshi Yamauchi owns about 10% of the company and the proud nature of Japanese companies would make an American acquirer difficult to accept,” he said. “At 83 years old, Yamauchi won’t be around forever and it is unclear what his heirs would want to do with their stake after he passes. So perhaps there is a possibility of an acquisition down the road, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Nintendo was founded and handhed down by Yamauchi’s grandfather; as long as the patriarch presides over Nintendo in any capacity, a sale to Jobs is that much more unlikely.

Nintendo may be having some difficulties due to slow sales of the 3DS and the winding down of the aged Wii, but it’s hardly Doomsday for the company. IndustryGamers made mention of the low price of Nintendo stock during the GameCube era, but Nintendo carried on, and positively exploded a few years later with the Wii.

It’s a funny ol’ industry and strange acquisitions come and go with the night, but a Nintendo-Apple hybrid is still too mind-boggling to comprehend as a real, natural thing.

For now.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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