Nintendo sells its majority stake in the Seattle Mariners for 661 million

first_imgNintendo has revealed that it has sold off a majority of its ownership in the Seattle Mariners.They started negotiations to do so in April and it’s just been announced that they have sold their stake to minority shareholders for $661 million, dropping their stake from over 50 percent to 10 percent. The sale will no doubt be good news to Nintendo investors, who have seen the company struggling in recent years as the Wii U failed to live up to its promise. A recent surge in share price attributed to Pokemon Go has helped, however.But this is truly the end of an era. Legendary Nintendo CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi first invested in the Mariners back in 1992 when they were dominating the U.S. market. By buying into the most American of pastimes (besides gaming, of course) Nintendo managed to not only save a failing baseball team, but paved the way for Japanese players to come play in the MLB.Local representatives originally approached the then-thriving Nintendo about the investment, as they were worried that their waning fortunes would make the team relocate to Tampa. Yamauchi used his own money- $125 million of it- “in order to show Nintendo’s appreciation to the U.S. for helping Nintendo do business in the country, and to contribute to the local residents and area.”It wasn’t an easy sale. The MLB initially freaked out about the idea of a Japanese company owning a controlling stake in one of their teams, and only agreed to it with the understanding that Yamauchi will be a passive partner and not have a say in day-to-day operations.That said, former Chairman of Nintendo of America (and Nintendo Power comic icon) Howard Lincoln eventually became CEO of the team, handling day-to-day operations after all. The Mariners had some of their best seasons ever following the sale, but Yamauchi famously never attended a single game, not even when they traveled to Tokyo for exhibition games.In 2004 he transferred ownership to Nintendo of America proper, and after his death in 2013 it was wondered if that would mark the end of it. Nintendo kept the stake thanks to current CEO Satoru Iwata, but after his death last year (as well as Lincoln’s desire to relinquish “day-to-day leadership for the team”) the decision was finally made.As for the Mariners themselves, despite a recent slump they’ve been on a hot streak, winning seven of their last 10 games. This sale will mean that they get to stay in Seattle once again, where Nintendo’s presence will always be felt.last_img