Nintendo have tonight announced that they have sold their share in the UK based software developer Rare - confirming moths of rumours that were suggesting such a move.

The company have sold all of their 49% share that they held in the developer, which in 1991 made up 9.5% of Nintendo's software sales worldwide, but slipped to only 1.5% this year.

"Nintendo had the ability to continue its exclusive relationship with Rare, but in looking at the company's recent track record, it
became clear that its value to the future of Nintendo would be
limited," said Nintendo of America's executive vice president, sales and marketing, Peter MacDougall. "In other words, we passed on this
opportunity for very good business reasons."

"Although we declined the opportunity to continue our exclusive
agreement with Rare, this announcement does not diminish our respect for their work or the past contributions they have made to Nintendo," continued MacDougall.

Nintendo will retain exclusive rights to original properties and franchises featured in games developed by Rare, such as Donkey
Kong, Diddy Kong and Star Fox - strangely there appears to be no mention of Perfect Dark, which rumours have suggested may see an Xbox release during 2003.

This news comes after months of rumours about several companies who ha supposidly wanted to buy Rare, with the latest involving Microsoft, who are said to have paid somewhere in the region of $550million for the company - something that we won't know for sure until the X02 event in Seville next week, when it'll either all be confirmed or flatly denied.