Sega Sammy spins off Bakugan

Japanese publisher establishes new company to "maximize the IP value" of cross-media card-battling game; six-month revenues fall 23 percent to $1.7 billion.

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Sega Sammy's finances have been hammered recently on a number of fronts, ranging from dwindling demand in the Japanese arcade market to currency valuations to the continued sputtering of its Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. One new property that could reverse the fortunes of the Japanese company is Bakugan, a cross-media franchise with ties to collectible card games, video games, toys, and animation.

Is that a Baku-ball he's holding?
Is that a Baku-ball he's holding?

As part of its six-month earnings report, Sega Sammy said that it has established a new company to oversee the Bakugan brand. The Japanese company said that the move will help "maximize the IP value of Bakugan" and went on to note that Bakugan LLP will "handle total production and merchandising as well as build a strong collaboration with the respective enterprises."

According to Sega Sammy's announcement, Bakugan LLP has been established with ¥1 billion ($11 million) in capital. SegaToys is the primary investor, with a 50 percent stake in the company. Animation company TMS Entertainment, as well as Sega Corp., Sammy Corp., and Sammy NetWorks, are also named as investors in Bakugan LLP.

The first installment in the Bakugan video game franchise debuted in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, and DS in October and was published by Activision. Sega Sammy did not indicate whether it would be publishing future North American installments in the Bakugan video game franchise and had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

Word of Bakugan LLP comes as Sega Sammy faces continued economic adversity. For the six-month period ended September 30, the Japanese company reported revenues of ¥154.4 billion ($1.7 billion), a 23 percent decline from a year ago. Sega Sammy did gain some ground in shoring up its losses, posting a net loss of ¥6.32 billion ($69.7 million), compared to a ¥9.55 billion ($105 million) shortfall during the same period a year ago.

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