Translated Press Release:
Thursday May 12, 9:34 AM
Major Japanese toymakers Takara and Tomy are planning to merge in the latest shake-up for an industry struggling to survive amid falling birthrates, reports said.
The two will integrate operations under a single holding company or through a stock swap as early as January 2006, the Nikkei Keizai Shimbun said, without citing sources.
They are expected to decide on the merger plan at board meetings on Thursday, the economic daily said. The Mainichi Shimbun said the merger could come as early as this year.
The companies have judged mutual use of soft contents such as toy characters to be indispensable in a shrinking market of fewer and fewer children, the Mainichi said.
A Takara spokeswoman said she was checking the reports. No immediate comment was available from Tomy. Takara's long-selling toys include Licca-chan dolls, a Japanese version of Barbie, while Tomy is strong in the market for boys' toys such as trains and cars. Tomy also scored a hit with Pokemon character toys around 2000.
Their merger would create Japan's fourth-largest toy-game group with combined annual sales of 180 billion yen (1.7 billion dollars).
The reports came just 10 days after Japan's top toymaker Bandai, known for its Gundam sci-fi robots, announced a plan to merge with PAC-MAN maker Namco in September.
The Bandai-Namco merger will create Japan's second-largest toy-game firm after Sega Sammy Holdings.
Many thanks to Dragon-X76 for the news.