Japan's Index Corp, a company offering mobile phone and internet content services,has announced its acquisition of film producer and distributor Nikkatsu fromits current corporate owner, Namco.

The deal, which is expectedto be finalised by mid-September, will result in Index buying a more than 50%stake for $36m-$45.5m (Y4bn-Y5bn). Namco, which currently holds 74% of Nikkatsustock, will retain its remaining shares.

Of principal interest toIndex is Nikkatsu's library of nearly 7,000 film titles, including those fromits peak years as a major studio in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as soft pornfilms - the so-called "Nikkatsu Roman Poruno" - of the 1970s and 1980s, many ofwhich have been reissued on video and DVD.

Index plans to exploit theseand other Nikkatsu contents across a range of platforms, including TV, mobilephones, the internet and Index subsidiary Neo Index's VOD service.

The company also intends tolaunch a film fund to finance new films, strengthen ties with foreign filmstudios and extend Nikkatsu's overseas sales network in Asia, Europe and North America. "We anticipatecollaboration with [Index] in a variety of areas, particularly the exploitationof our film library and film production," said Nikkatsu executive departmentgeneral manager Yoshimi Seki.

Founded in 1995 as aprovider of services to mobile phone users, Index has ties with televisionbroadcasters as well as toymakers Takara and Tomy and the Madhouse animationstudio. It has also branched out into other businesses, including internetsolutions and magazine and book publishing.

Founded in 1912, Nikkatsu isJapan's oldest film studio. After years of falling profitsthe company began a court-ordered restructuring in 1993 and became a Namcosubsidiary in 1997.