Japan's largest game publisher, Nintendo, has purchased a significant amount of stock in toy and media giant Bandai, causing many Japanese media sources to speculate that a buy-out may be on the cards in the near future.
According to Famitsu, Nintendo purchased 2.7 per cent of Bandai's shares at the end of September when Bandai split its stock, an additional purchase which places Nintendo as one of the top ten shareholders in the company.
Although both Nintendo and Bandai have denied that any acquisition is on the cards for now, this hasn't stemmed speculation in the Japanese press that the move is an early indicator of Nintendo's intentions towards Bandai.
It's not hard to see why the acquisition of Bandai would be an attractive move for Nintendo, after all. Nintendo considers itself to be in the toy business, a sector which Bandai has a massive presence in both in Japan and abroad - but perhaps even more importantly, Bandai has a history of building up wildly popular franchises which rivals Nintendo's own track record.
Bandai owns some of the biggest toy and anime franchises in Japan, including the massively popular Digimon, and the output of its Sunrise anime studio includes the likes of the Gundam franchise. Both of these huge franchises - and many others besides - have spawned hugely successful videogames, and completely aside from the other obvious benefits to Nintendo of owning Bandai, having the games based on these series exclusively released on the GameCube and GBA would be a massive coup for the company which could potentially give it an edge over Sony in Japan.