Singapore-based investment firm JCM Singapore Pte Ltd is set to purchase a majority share in Japan Digital Contents Trust (JDC), a backer of several local distributors and films such as Hula Girls and Mushi-shi.

 

JDC will issue 247,729 shares valued at $4.14m (Y384.5m) to be bought by Gorgeous Grace Investment, a corporate investment fund managed by JCM.

The deal will give Gorgeous Grace Investment a 51.11% controlling stake while raising $3.93m net income for JDC.

JDC has been operating in the red in the past four quarters, with sluggish returns for investors, and was also hit by a $940,000 employee embezzlement case which came to light in June of this year.

Established in 1998 and listed on the Tokyo stock exchange in 2000, JDC began with funds for animation and game content, later branching out into feature films.

JDC established two film funds in 2005, the Cinema Trust: Producer’s Fund and the Cine Qua Non Fund. The former aimed at raising production money for local films produced by partners including Office Shirous, Sedic International and Ogura Jimusyo Inc.

Underwritten titles included Sedic-Kadokawa co-production Kung Fu Kid and the Ogura Jimusyo-Shochiku co-production Mushi-Shi, a Venice competition entry in 2006.

The Cine Qua Non fund encompassed multiple titles, whether produced or acquired by the producer-distributor, with investors collecting on box office and DVD profits until March 2011.

Musical drama Hula Girls was one of the successes of the fund, yielding a 15% return on investment and winning multiple awards in 2007. WWII baseball drama Last Game was released this summer.

Titles announced for 2009 include Shunji Iwai-produced high school romance Half Way.

In April 2007 JDC announced the Cinema Trust: Acquisition Fund, which was created to provide a total of Y2b-Y4b for the acquisition and distribution of foreign-produced feature films.

It was intended to be jointly managed by JDC and established distributors Movie-Eye Entertainment, Klockworx and Xanadeux, but the fund has yet to materialise.