by Ronnie Dungan
Following hard on the heels of the Bandai and Namco merger, Takara and Tomy are now expected to join forces, with a merger expected at the end of the year.
Shares of both companies were temporarily suspended from trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after the reports surfaced, but have since resumed trading following statements from both. "It is true we are in talks with Takara on integrating (operations) and other topics," a Tomy spokeswoman said.
The Nikkei Keizai Shimbun reported today that the two companies would integrate operations under a single holding company or through a stock swap as early as January 2006. They are expected to decide on the merger plan at board meetings shortly. Other sources say the merger could come as early as this year.
Their merger would create Japan's fourth-largest toy and game group with combined annual sales of 180 billion Yen ($1.7bn). It follows Bandai?s recent $1.6bn acquisition of Namco.