It’s got to be tough to drop the family business.
The Yamauchi family has been involved in Nintendo since Fusajiro Yamauchi founded the company in 1889, four years before Henry Ford’s automobile company existed. Way before Nintendo morphed into the video game company we know today.
Still, it’s no secret that Nintendo hasn’t shown the best sales numbers lately. On the heels of investor uncertainty and the unrelenting resistance to change omnipresent in the company’s leadership, the Yamauchi family reportedly “desires” to sell its stake in the business.
Nintendo would purchase those shares back, in a transaction worth about 114.2 billion yen ($1.1 billion US), but it’s not clear if the Yamauchi family would sell all of its shares or just a percentage. What this means is that the Yamauchis may officially part ways with the company they started and, for most of its history, controlled. Satoru Iwata, the current president, took over in 2002 when Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down - Iwata is the only leader to not be related to the Yamauchis by blood or marriage.
What does this mean for Nintendo? Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto have been the faces of the company for the past decade anyway - the Yamauchi family is rarely discussed past money and investments. Nintendo has more pressing matters to worry about, anyway.
Like turning the Wii U around.