TOKYO — Shares of Nintendo Co., the world’s largest maker of handheld video-game players, posted the biggest decline in three weeks after the company said Japan’s government will sell its stake, about 1.4 percent of the outstanding stock.
The stock fell 2.7 percent to 32,950 yen on the Osaka Securities Exchange today. The 1.987 million shares held by the government will be priced between March 5 and March 8, Kyoto- based Nintendo said on Feb. 23. The stake is valued at 67.3 billion yen ($557 million) as of Friday.
The Banks’ Shareholdings Purchase Corp., a government- controlled body, in 2002 started buying shares of companies from banks to prevent a large number of stock being released to the market at once. The government in 2001 required lenders to cut their cross-shareholdings in customers — a strategy adopted after World War II to deepen business relationships — to avoid any impact of share price fluctuations on the stability of banks.
Nintendo initiated the sales by approaching the corporation, Ken Toyoda, the company’s spokesman said by telephone. The company is looking to increase the number of individual shareholders to increase liquidity, as products such as its DS handheld player and Wii consoles spur interest in its stock.
“The news suggest a worsening of share supply and demand, and comes at the time of concern that the stock’s price is high,” said Yoku Ihara, head of equity research at Retela Crea Securities Co. in Tokyo.
Nomura Holdings Inc. will handle the sale. Nintendo’s stock gained 43 percent in the past six months, compared with a 14 percent advance in the benchmark Topix index.