Japanese media and communications conglomerate Usen has divested its stake in broadband VoD portal ShowTime Inc.

Usen sold its 50% stake in ShowTime to online shopping giant Rakuten Inc for $18.38m (Y1.784bn), making the company a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rakuten. The shares will be delivered on March 25.

The two companies jointly established ShowTime in 2001 as Japan's first major broadband provider of movie, animation and TV contents.

In recent years, ShowTime's contents have shifted away from Hollywood and other feature films to Korean dramas and animation contents.

Usen cited rapid diversification of the broadband contents business model in recent years, choosing to focus on its core business of internet service as the reason for the divestment. Usen continues to run its own in-house contents portal GyaO, which offers free contents to 22 million registered subscribers.

Last July Usen subsidiary Gaga Communications halted production and acquisitions, but continue to distribute titles for other companies due to their marketing experience and strength.

Usen Inc CEO Yasuhide Uno set up independently run production and acquisitions company U's Films last August.