Tom Yoda

Source: Gaga Corp

Tom Yoda

Japanese distributor and producer Gaga Corporation has sold a majority stake to Genda Inc, an entertainment business known for operating amusement arcades.

Genda will acquire a 78.05% stake in Gaga from T.Y. Limited, the firm owned by Gaga president and CEO Tom Yoda, on November 30. Yoda will retain the remaining 21.95% and will be the representative director and chairman of the board. Financial terms have not been revealed.

A new management structure will see Genda director and CCO Yuzo Sato appointed representative director and president/CEO. Nao Kataoka, founder and representative director and chairman of the board of Genda, will be the director of the board. Other Gaga senior executives will remain unchanged in their posts.

Gaga was founded in 1986 and Yoda’s T.Y. Limited took a majority stake in 2009, growing the company’s position as a film producer, distributor and sales agent.

Over the last 15 years under Yoda’s management, Gaga has become a leading independent film distributor, handling seven Oscar best picture winners including CODA and Everything Everywhere All At Once, and four Palme d’Or winners including Shoplifters and Anatomy Of A Fall.

The company said it is forging a “multi-portfolio strategy”, which involves international film distribution, local film and anime production, international sales, international co-production, game and character businesses derived from anime.

In a statement, Genda said it “has a vision to be a world’s number one entertainment company” and intends to expand and strengthen its global entertainment content business. Gaga is now expected to play a key role in achieving those ambitions.

Genda was launched four years ago and is a holding company that owns several entertainment business companies. As its core business, it operates approximately 260 amusement arcades, mainly under the GiGO brand. Its other acquisitions have grown its presence in sales promotions, character licensing, VR content development and cinema advertising.

Yoda said: “Mr. Kataoka of Genda and I have established a close relationship since he became president and representative director of Aeon Entertainment in 2017. Exchanging business ideas and strategies, he seems to be inspired by my longtime experiences and networks in the entertainment business, including music, film, game, character, broadcast and manga.

“Having perfectly matched vision and values, we are very excited to work with Genda to generate synergies for both companies. For the 40th anniversary of Gaga in 2026, we will keep going full throttle with the multi-portfolio strategy with Genda.”