One of the gaming industry's legacy publishers is now a target for acquisition after Capcom's board recently voted down a complex measure that would have made a controlling stake in the company difficult to purchase. .
As the owner and originator of popular series like Resident Evil, Street Figher, and Mega Man, Capcom stands as one of the most storied and celebrated company'sin gaming. Recent years have seen the development and publishing house struggle, but there is still great value in the company's properties if they are handled correctly. Which company with a foothold in the gaming industry could attempt to buy Capcom?
Will a console maker snatch up Capcom?
Arguments can be made that purchasing Capcom would be a good move for each of the major platform holders. Acquiring the company's legendary stable of IPs comes with obvious benefits, as such a move would give the acting console maker exclusive control over lucrative properties like "Monster Hunter" and "Resident Evil."
Nintendo needs content
Nintendo (NASDAQOTH:NTDOY) is currently in need of greater software diversity on its platforms. Third-party interest in the company's consoles has waned to dangerous levels, and launching new hardware without adequate support is a foolhardy endeavor.
Unfortunately for Nintendo, there is little to suggest that a heavy presence on the company's consoles is good business for third parties. At this point, acquiring smaller developers may be Nintendo's best shot at creating a healthy software ecosystem. Capcom's mobile focus could also be an asset for Nintendo, even though it currently puts the companies at odds philosophically. It's also worth noting that Capcom's games (outside of Monster Hunter) may be a less than ideal fit for Nintendo's traditional demographics. Mario and Company have the assets to pick up Capcom, but there would be considerable risk in the move.
Sony isn't in shape to buy
Sony's (NYSE:SNE) financial situation means that it's not in great shape to take on a company of Capcom's size. Still, with Sony likely moving out of the dedicated handheld hardware space, Capcom's properties and existing mobile structure could be an asset. The publisher's franchises are also good fit for the PlayStation family.
Microsoft has the money if it's interested
Of the big three platform holders, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is in by far the best shape to purchase Capcom. Depending on the company's future gaming plans, ownership of Capcom properties could be a significant asset for the Xbox platform. The third-party publisher's interest in mobile could also play well with Microsoft's cloud focus.
Capcom's heavy push into mobile over the last several years should make it attractive to some of the industry's bigger players. Its presence on the console market could also provide valuable diversification.
GungHo is a likely buyer
A Japanese company like GungHo stands as one of the most likely candidates to make a move on Capcom. The mobile publisher is behind Japan's incredibly popular Puzzles & Dragons, but it needs to limit its reliance on the series so as to avoid the pitfalls suffered by the likes of Zynga and King. Puzzles & Dragons accounted for approximately 91% of GungHo's 2013 revenue. Capcom's substantial library of games and properties could be a great asset on the mobile marketplace, where big names are often needed to standout. Its console presence could also be of value to GungHo.
Nexon seems to be a good philosophical match
South Korean publisher and developer Nexon is another mobile company that might seek to acquire Capcom. The company, most known for Maple Story, is currently headquartered in Japan, and recent comments from CEO Owen Mahoney suggest the publisher is looking to bridge the difference between mobile and console games and emphasize quality of product. Capcom's developers and properties could be a huge asset in that pursuit.
Tencent likes acquisitions
Chinese publisher Tencent (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) is another mobile company that might have an interest in purchasing Capcom. With a market cap of approximately $150 billion, acquiring the much smaller Japanese company wouldn't carry much in the way of relative expense. 2011 saw Tencent acquire a controlling stake in Riot Games, the creator of the incredibly popular League of Legends, and the Chinese company also owns a minority stake in Epic Games. Buying Capcom would not be out of character.
Capcom isn't without its problems. The company's handling of key franchises has been less than ideal, and it recently slashed fiscal year profit projections by more than 50%. Still, there is considerable value in the company as an acquisition with Capcom's growing revenue stream. Perhaps GungHo or Nexon are best aligned with Capcom and will make a play for the company in the not too distant future.
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Keith Noonan has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.