Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, a publishing house with extensive media interests, has reached an agreement to acquire the Daiei studio from Tokuma Publishing.
Once a major studio, Daiei went bankrupt in 1971 and later became the wholly owned subsidiary of Tokuma. Over the last 10 years it has staged a corporate revival, producing Shall We Dance' and several films by Takashi Miike, including the Dead Or Alive series.
According to the agreement, Kadokawa will purchase not only the theatrical and video film production divisions, but the video and DVD distribution and studio operations as well. The acquisition price and detailed terms have not yet been disclosed.
Kadokawa has been restructuring film production and distribution subsidiary Asmik Ace Entertainment, cutting back on film investment, while increasing foreign software acquisition, in reaction to sharp declines in its film business profits in the fiscal year 2001.
Tokuma has also undergone corporate surgery following the death of president and founder Yasuyoshi Tokuma two years ago, in an attempt to lighten a massive debt load incurred under Tokuma's long regime.
Tokuma, however, intends retain subsidiary Studio Ghibli, the animation house that has produced some of the biggest hits in Japanese film history, including last year's smash Spirited Away.