Japanese conglomerate SojitzCorp, its affiliate Klockworx and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) haveinvested $12m (Y1.4bn) in a limited partnership to buy animation contents andlicense them to the global market.

Sojitz is contributing 64%,DBJ 28% and Klockworx 8% of the investment in the partnership. Internationalsales of the contents will be handled through newly established company ARM.

Simultaneously, 20% of theinitial investment in the partnership has been used to purchase stock in US media company AD Vision (also known as ADV Films).With a focus on TV animation, ARM aims to purchase between 20 and 30 titlesannually which it will sub-license through AD Vision for sales to the NorthAmerican market.

With $43m in sales lastyear, AD Vision ranks number one in the US in terms of DVD sales, cable TVbroadcasting and publishing of Japanese animation-related contents, handlingpopular titles such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Robotech. Established in 1992, the company also opened a branch inthe UK in 1996 and has ties with continental Europe.

Sojitz is already involvedin distribution of animated contents and last October bought a 35% stake injoint venture Index Global Rights Management to handle foreign mobile andinternet content rights.

Distribution and productioncompany Klockworx, in which Sojitz acquired a 17.94% stake in April,contributes expertise in the area of buying rights to foreign feature films fordistribution in Japan. ARM will now act as foreign sales agent for its acquisitions.

Klockworx, established in1997, has distributed films such as BlairWitch Project, Super Size Me and Tom Yum Goong, as well as producingfilms.

DBJ is at the forefront ofrecent initiatives to further stimulate the production, distribution and exportof animated works, which it regards as one of Japan's strongest exports and soundest investments. Lastmonth DBJ set up a $17.2m (Y2bn) animation fund with Kadokawa ShotenPublishing.