Nintendo could score big in mobile gaming after iPhone tie-up

NINTENDO
Updated 09 September 2016
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Nintendo could score big in mobile gaming after iPhone tie-up

TOKYO: Nintendo's tie-up with Apple on a Super Mario app for iPhone is more proof the console-maker could score big in mobile gaming, analysts said Thursday, as its stock skyrocketed on the news.
The deal, announced in the United States Wednesday, will see "Super Mario Run" available exclusively for the Apple smartphone from later this year and follows Nintendo's huge hit with the Pokemon Go app this summer.
Investors cheered the deal as they pushed the Tokyo-listed stock up 18 percent in early trade before it finished at 27,955 yen ($275), up 13.2 percent.
Nintendo shares have been on a tear since the July release of Pokemon Go — making the company more valuable than Sony at one stage — as markets embraced the game as vindication for its long-awaited move into mobile gaming.
After years of pressure, Nintendo — which also created the Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda brands — abandoned a consoles-only policy and opened the door to licensing some of its characters for mobile game use.
"It is a big deal," Neil Campling, an analyst at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said of the Nintendo-Apple announcement.
"This venture is perhaps the biggest endorsement we could possibly have imagined that Nintendo's strategy to monetize their huge franchise IP (intellectual property) on mobile and ex-platform reliant technology is the right one," he said in a commentary, according to Bloomberg News.
The deal comes after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month appeared at the Rio Olympics' closing ceremony in the mustachioed plumber's red hat and blue overalls to promote the Tokyo 2020 Games.
In March, Kyoto-based Nintendo released its first mobile game "Miitomo" — a free-to-play and interactive game that allows users to create avatars — as it tries to compete in an industry that has increasingly moved online.
That followed the firm's announcement last year that it was teaming up with Japanese mobile specialist DeNA to develop games for smartphones based on its host of popular characters.
Analysts said much of the credit belongs to Nintendo's late president Satoru Iwata, a charismatic visionary who died last year at age 55.
In a dramatic U-turn, Iwata acknowledged in 2014 that Nintendo could no longer afford to stand on the sidelines of the booming mobile games market.
But the company's mobile moves since Iwata's death appear to go well beyond the conservative steps he had envisioned.
"The rails were laid by Mr. Iwata," said Ace Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda.
"Nintendo realized there was a limit to what it could do on its own. They wanted to expand the business and now we're seeing the fruits of those efforts."
The firm is also seeing an uptick in advance orders for a Pokemon game for its 3DS handheld console and it's also developing a new home-based system, set for release next year.
Nintendo stands to profit more directly from the Apple venture than Pokemon Go, which has now been downloaded more than half a billion times.
Nintendo did not create Pokemon Go, but it holds a stake in its US maker Niantic Labs. It also owns about one-third of the Pokemon Company, which will get licensing fees for loaning out the cuddly monsters' brand.
The app sparked a worldwide frenzy among millions of users who took to the streets with their smartphones in a bid to capture and train mythical creatures for battles.


UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

Updated 21 March 2019
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UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

  • The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK
  • The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore

DUBAI: Network International, the UAE payments processor, has committed to a London IPO next month in what would be the UK’s first big share sale of the year.
The company intends to have a free float of at least 25 percent and admission to the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place in April, Network International said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK where there is still no clarity around whether Britain will leave the EU or not at the end of the month.
VPS Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator, is reconsidering plans to list in London due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a person familiar with the matter.
The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, owns 51 percent of Network International while Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic jointly own the rest.
The share sale will be a key test of investor demand for new listings in London after a subdued 2018 across most European markets.
“Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run,” said Peter Whelan, partner and UK IPO Lead at PwC in a recent report.
“We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”
The payment processor reported earnings of $298 million last year according to its website, up from $262 million a year earlier. It does not disclose net income figures.
The company handles digital payments across the Middle East, which generate three quarters of its total earnings.
Last year it processed some $40 billion in payments for more than 65,000 merchants.
Its key markets in the region include the UAE and Jordan it says that Saudi Arabia offers “significant opportunities.” It also offers services in 40 African countries with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa being its most important segments on the continent.