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Sega issues ‘Dreamcast bonds’ to fund console launch

The name's Bond... Dreamcast Bond

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Sega has come up with a curious method of financing the launch of its next-generation video games console, Dreamcast -- it is selling what it calls 'Dreamcast bonds'. The Japanese company today issued Y10 billion ($81 million) of bonds, each with a three-year term and a 2.15 per cent rate. Every bond comes with a Y500 card that can be used as petrol stations and convenience stores, and offers buyers the chance to win one of 100 Dreamcast consoles or 1000 memory modules. It's a novel concept for Western IT companies, but not uncommon in Japan. Sega, which recently posted a 75.9 per cent collapse in half-year profits, makes a pile of cash up front and promises to pay bond-holders back plus interest out of the money it hopes to make out of the new console. Of course, the snag is part of the money made from these bonds will be used to pay off previous bond issues -- it has too; the company hasn't made enough money in the meantime to cover the repayments through its own profitability -- leaving the company in a potential debt spiral unless the Dreamcast generates the high level of profit Sega is gambling on. ®

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