Tecmo Koei Holdings Co., Ltd. (Japanese：コーエーテクモホールディングス株式会社, Kōē Tekumo Hōrudingusu Kabushiki-gaisha), is a holding company created in 2009 by the merger of Japanese video game developers and publishers Koei and Tecmo.
Koei Europe changed its name to Tecmo Koei Europe, Ltd and now releases video games under the new moniker. In January 2010, Tecmo, Inc. and Koei Corporation merged into Tecmo Koei America Corporation. Tecmo has been declared disbanded in Japan, effective as of April 1, 2010. Koei Canada, Inc. has since changed its name to Tecmo Koei Canada, Inc.
The continued operating loss prompted Kenji Matsubara, the former president and CEO of both Tecmo Koei Holdings and Tecmo Koei Games label to tendered his resignation in November 2010. Yoichi Erikawa – Co-founder of Koei – will take over the four positions vacated by Kenji Matsubara.
Tecmo, Inc. (テクモ Tekumo?), formerly known as Tehkan Ltd. (テーカン Tēkan?), was founded by Yoshihito Kakihara on July 31, 1967, as a supplier of cleaning equipment. Two years later, in 1969, it started to sell amusement equipment. Tecmo had its headquarters in Kudankita, Chiyoda, Tokyo. Tecmo’s United States offices were located in Torrance, California.
In March 1981, a U.S. division was inaugurated as U.S. Tehkan, Inc.. A month later, on April 1981, Tehkan released in Japan its first arcade video game titled Pleiads (which was distributed in America by Centuri). When it was still called Tehkan, the company also released such classic games as Bomb Jack and Tehkan World Cup. On January 8, 1986, Tehkan officially changed its name to Tecmo. In 1989 Tecmo was named as co-defendant in a lawsuit, when Indianapolis Colts running back Eric Dickerson sued the NFLPA over use of his likeness in the game Tecmo Bowl.
On the 3rd June, 2008 Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki resigned from the company and filed a 145 million yen ($1.3 million) lawsuit for “unpaid completion bonuses” and “emotional distress”. This was followed by another lawsuit filed on the 16th of June by two plaintiffs on behalf of Tecmo’s 300 employees for unpaid wages amounting to ¥8.3 million.
Koei Co., Ltd. (株式会社コーエー Kabushiki gaisha Kōē, formerly 光栄 (Kōei)) was founded in July 1978 by Yoichi Erikawa and Keiko Erikawa. Yoichi was a student at Keio University, and when his family’s rural dyestuffs business failed he decided to pursue his interest in programming. The company to this day is located in the Hiyoshi area of Yokohama along with Erikawa’s alma mater, and the company’s name is simply a spoonerism of the school’s.
Kō Shibusawa and Eiji Fukuzawa, whose names are supposed to have made up the name of the company, do not really exist and are names used by the company to avoid giving credit to individual contributors, effectively acting as alter-egos for Erikawa.
The company initially focused on personal computer sales and made-to-order business software. In 1983 it released Nobunaga’s Ambition (信長の野望 Nobunaga no Yabō), a historical strategy game set during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. The game went on to receive numerous awards, and Koei produced several more such games set against the backdrop of world history, including Romance of the Three Kingdoms, set during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history, and Uncharted Waters (大航海時代 Dai Kōkai Jidai; lit. Great Navigation Era), set in Portugal during the Age of Exploration.
In 1988, Koei established a North American subsidiary, Koei Corporation, in California. This subsidiary localized Koei games for export to all territories outside of Japan, as well as producing original games and concepts with the leadership of designer Stieg Hedlund, like Liberty or Death, Celtic Tales: Balor of the Evil Eye, Gemfire and Saiyuki: Journey West. After Hedlund’s departure, this subsidiary ceased game development in 1995, focusing instead on localization, sales and marketing.
A Canadian subsidiary, Koei Canada, Inc. was established in early 2001, and a European subsidiary, Koei Limited was established in early 2003 in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. In 2004, a Lithuanian subsidiary was formed.
Merger and reorganization
On August 20, 2008, Tecmo announced the resignation of president Yoshimi Yasuda, to be replaced by current Chairman of the Board Yasuharu Kakihara as of September 1. On August 28 Square Enix announced plans for a friendly takeover of Tecmo by purchasing shares at a 30 percent premium with a total bid of ¥22.3 billion. They gave Tecmo until September 4 to either accept or reject the proposal. Upon hearing this news on August 31, Kenji Matsubara, President and COO of Koei, called a board meeting for the next day, September 1. The board discussed the possibility of a merger with Tecmo, and began discussions with Tecmo that same day. On September 4, 2008 Tecmo officially declined the Square Enix’s proposal, and later that same day announced plans to merge with Koei.
To survive and compete in this market, we need to have some sort of scale – it’s critical. And that’s the trigger of this consolidation. Square Enix had made an offer, and we had started a discussion with Tecmo as well. But Tecmo’s founding family and Koei’s founders’ family have actually had a good relationship for many years, which is why we were able to make a deal in such a short time! We started the discussion on September 1st, and it was agreed two days after! Tecmo’s founders and management team understands that while it is nice to stand alone, it is risky, and scale is critical.—Kenji Matsubara
In November 2008 the companies announced their specific plan of action, to complete the merger on April 1, 2009, forming Tecmo Koei Holdings. Koei stock was to be exchanged for Tecmo Koei stock at a rate of 1:1, and Tecmo stock exchanged at .9:1, giving Koei shareholders, in total, a three-quarter stake in the new company. Though the combined profits in 2007 were 8.5 million yen, they anticipated that the merged company would net over 16 million yen in the fiscal year ending year ending March 2012. Effissimo Capital Management Pte, Tecmo’s second-largest shareholder at 17.6%, openly opposed the merger. On January 26, 2009, the shareholders for both Koei and Tecmo reached separate agreements in favor of the merger. Effissimo raised some dissent during the meeting, and implied they may seek to sell their shares. Effissimo’s director Takashi Kosaka stated “We have not had sufficient information from the company to make a judgment on the merger, such as the feasibility of their plan to raise shareholder value.” On February 12 Kenji Matsubara liquidated KOEI France SAS. On February 13, Tecmo announced it had received repurchase claim (a request for the company to buy stock back) from a major shareholder, 15.64% of the stock (3,890,700 shares) from a shareholder that stood in opposition to the firm’s upcoming merger with Koei. While the requesting shareholder was not mentioned, Reuters stated that it was likely Effissimo.
Despite these misgivings, the holding company formed on April 1, 2009 as planned. The development divisions of both companies were spun-out into separate subsidiaries, created specifically for the planning and development of software, operating directly under the holding company. Kenji Matsubara became CEO of the new company, and former Tecmo CEO Yasuharu Kakihara became board chairman. As of May 26, Tecmo Koei had still not reached an agreement with Effissimo, prompting the investment fund to seek mediation with the Tokyo District Court. While Tecmo Koei favored a stock value in the mid-600 yen range, Effissimo was expected to ask for at least 900, in part due to the rejected Square Enix offer of 920 per share.
On June 23, 2009, Tecmo Koei announced a planned restructure of its international subsidiaries. Tecmo’s sole subsidiary, the American Tecmo Inc., and Koei’s American Koei Corporation were moved under a newly-formed Tecmo Koei America Corporation, itself a direct subsidiary to Tecmo Koei Holdings. Koei’s Canadian, European, Korean, and Taiwanese subsidiaries were re-branded Tecmo Koei, and also moved to direct subsidiaries of the holding company, on par with the original Japanese Tecmo and Koei development teams. The first game published by the new Tecmo Koei Europe was Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. In August 2009 Tecmo Koei announced that it was setting up a subsidiary in Hanoi, Vietnam. Later that month the ESA announced that Tecmo Koei was now a member. On April 1, 2010, Koei Singapore was also re-branded as Tecmo Koei.
On February 8, 2011, Koei Tecmo announced that the individual developers Tecmo and Koei would be merged into Tecmo Koei Games, though the company will continue to develop under the Tecmo and Koei brands.