Following the widespread reporting of Bill Gates’ comment that he would consider buying Nintendo if it was for sale, Nintendo shares have leapt up in value overnight. It seems ludicrous that serious investors have actually reacted to this news as if it was a genuine implication of a merger, but with Nintendo shares up 3.8% to 12,580 Yen, some speculators are clearly putting faith in this rather contrived report. Either that, or the merest whisper of admiration from a man of Gates' stature is sufficient to immediately boost the value of a company's shares.
At this point it would be worth re-iterating the original context of Gates’ relatively flippant remark. A German journalist asked him informally if he would consider buying Nintendo, Gates said yes, in theory. This really doesn’t mean anything of serious consequence. Any sensible capitalist would consider buying Nintendo (or any other profitable company) if it was up for sale at an affordable price. If SPOnG had the opportunity to buy Nintendo, and the price was right, then we surely would (rustles in pocket for a spare tenner)... but it doesn’t mean that’s ever going to happen!
Microsoft has refused to comment on the story, probably because it has no problem with these kinds of rumours proliferating. They all serve to emphasise MS’s intimidating financial prowess and aggressive business practise, which in turn reassures investors and shareholders. However, Nintendo spokesperson Yashuhiro Minagawa has explicitly negated the buyout chatter, and has termed the original WirtschaftsWoche article simply as “unreliable”. Nintendo is not for sale.