Konami Shares Drop After Ending Soccer Partnership With UEFA

(Bloomberg) -- Konami Holdings Corp. fell the most in almost a month after announcing it was ending a soccer licensing partnership with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The 10-year agreement for its Pro Evolution Soccer series (known as Winning Eleven in Japan) will end after next month’s final in Ukraine, according to a statement on UEFA’s website. Both parties are ending the partnership on good terms and their relationship “remains strong,” they said. After Bloomberg first reported the split, Konami’s stock fell 5.1 percent, the biggest decline since March 23.

“The UEFA Champions League license has given us a platform to create unique experiences and provide football fans from all over the world with an opportunity to enjoy this competition first-hand,” Jonas Lygaard, senior director at Konami, said in the statement. “This year, however, we will shift our focus into other areas. We will continue to explore alternative ways UEFA and Konami can continue to work together.”

Konami shares have more than doubled since the start of 2016 after management put more resources into developing mobile titles and adding more microtransactions to its games. Revenue from video games rose 22 percent to 89.7 billion yen ($840 million) in the first nine-months of the current fiscal year, driven by strong sales of the smartphone version of its Winning Eleven title, which the company said reached 90 million downloads in February.

The company is in early stages of releasing the title in China, the world’s largest mobile gaming market.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.