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Report: DeNA Close To Purchasing Japanese Baseball Team

Report: DeNA Close To Purchasing Japanese Baseball Team

October 24, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Japan's DeNA, operator of major mobile social gaming network Mobage, is reportedly close to a deal to purchase the suffering Yokohmama BayStars baseball franchise, a move likely aimed at improving the company's marketing.

According to a Nikkei report (translated by Andriasang), current team owner Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) will sell most of its 70 percent stake in the team to DeNA for roughly 10 billion yen ($131 million), pending the approval of all 12 team owner associations in the league.

TBS has reportedly been trying to sell its ownership share in the team for at least a year. The BayStars are currently operating at an annual loss of 2 billion yen ($26 million), and sitting at the bottom of the Central League standings.

The BayStars are currently the only team in Japan's 12-team league whose name doesn't include the branding of a corporate owner.

DeNA would likely change that upon completing its purchase, and may even move the team away from Yokohama, though The Hollywood Reporter reports a group of Yokohama businessmen were recently organizing a counter-bid to try and prevent that move.

In 1991, Nintendo of America purchased a controlling share in the Seattle Mariners, leading to marketing tie-ins including the Ken Griffey Jr.'s Baseball game franchise and a "Nintendo Fan Network" that DS owners can use at Seattle's Safeco Field.

Elsewhere, Korean MMO maker NCSoft is currently the lead bidder in an effort to purchase a new baseball team set to be established in the country's South Gyeongsang Province in 2014.

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