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Not playing ball...

Sega isn’t interested in a merger with Microsoft, Sega’s co-chief operating officer has explained in a statement to Bloomberg.

Last week, new documents emerged during the legal dispute between Xbox maker Microsoft and the US Federal Trade Commission. These documents revealed that in November 2020, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, sought approval from Microsoft’s CEO to explore the possibility of acquiring gaming studios from Sega Sammy.

Microsoft Wanted Sega, But the Japanese Company Isn’t Keen

Spencer identified Sega, the renowned company behind Sonic the Hedgehog, as the prime acquisition target for Xbox. He cited Sega’s extensive global PC catalog, its presence in the Asian mobile market, and its strong brand recognition in console gaming through its classic intellectual properties.

Following this news, Sega Sammy’s shares experienced a significant surge, reaching their highest value since 2007.

When asked about the potential acquisition talks, Shuji Utsumi, Sega’s co-chief operating officer, told Bloomberg that the company is not currently open to such discussions. He refrained from confirming whether Microsoft had made a formal approach.

“No, not now,” he simply stated before going on to emphasize the positive rapport between Sega and Microsoft, stating that they maintain a strong relationship with the management team. He specifically praised Phil Spencer and Sarah Bond from Xbox, highlighting their commitment to the values cherished by video game enthusiasts.

Notably, the collaboration between Sega’s Creative Assembly studio and Xbox resulted in the development of titles such as Halo Wars 2 and Age of Empires 4. Additionally, in 2021, Sega announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft, allowing them to create games utilizing Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

In recent years, Microsoft has also shown interest in other companies such as Supergiant, Niantic, and Zynga, including them on their mergers and acquisitions radar.

Phil Spencer has publicly expressed his desire to acquire an Asian game developer, with a particular interest in a Japanese studio, on multiple occasions. Legal filings further revealed that Square Enix, the publisher behind the popular Final Fantasy series, has been considered as a potential acquisition target.