Leaked email reveals Xbox Head Phil Spencer was aiming to acquire Nintendo

by Danny Craig  · 
Leaked email reveals Xbox Head Phil Spencer was aiming to acquire Nintendo

According to newly released unredacted court documents, Microsoft and Nintendo were in talks about a possible acquisition, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer referring to the company as a "prime asset.”

The details:

  • Emails exchanged in 2020 between Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Nintendo chief commercial officer Takeshi Numoto were made public (via ResetEra) as part of a series of court documents used in Microsoft's legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In the emails, the two parties discuss potential acquisitions such as TikTok, Warner Bros. Interactive, and ZeniMax Media, which were later acquired by Microsoft.
  • During the conversation, Numoto questions Spencer on why Microsoft did not pursue a company such as Nintendo instead, to which Spencer responds that he would love for Microsoft to acquire the company and that it would be a "prime asset.” “Takeshi, I totally agree that Nintendo is THE prime asset for us in gaming, and today gaming is our most likely path to consumer relevance,” Spencer said. “I’ve had numerous conversations [with Nintendo] about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position. The unfortunate (or fortunate for Nintendo) situation is that Nintendo is sitting on a big pile of cash, they have a [Board of Directors] that until recently has not pushed for further increases in market growth or stock appreciation.”
  • Spencer went on to say that Mason Morfit, president of ValueAct and a former Microsoft board member, had been "heavily acquiring shares of Nintendo," and that the situation could be used to "create opportunities" for Microsoft due to the executive's past relationship with the company. He also stated that Nintendo's future "exists off of their own hardware," and that it was taking the company a "long time" to realize this, implying that an acquisition could still be on the table in the future.

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