Japan's Amuse Pictures, whose recent releases include Roman Polanski's Oscar winning The Pianist, has been sold to Toshiba Corp by parent company Amuse Inc.

According to the terms of the deal Amuse will transfer 67 percent of its Amuse Pictures shares to Toshiba on April 1 and the remainder in October. The total value of the shares is $12m (Y1.44bn).

Currently active in film production, as well as film, DVD and video distribution, Amuse Pictures will concentrate on short film and TV drama production as a member of the Toshiba group.

Amuse Pictures was launched as a video sales company in 1990. Recent releases include The Pianist, Korean romantic comedy My Sassy Girl and German romantic comedy Mostly Martha. The company has been instrumental in introducing Korean cinema to the Japanese mass audience, including the hits Joint Security Area and Shiri.

Toshiba's relationship with Amuse Pictures goes back several years, when the two companies began jointly releasing films in the Japanese market.

Meanwhile, Amuse Pictures subsidiary Amuse Soft Inc., which markets package software, will remain with Amuse. The parent company will liquidate two money-losing divisions, Amuse Books and Amuse Sales, which markets DVDs, videos other visual content.

Started in 1977 by current chairman Yokichi Osato, Amuse is an entertainment group whose core business is talent management. For the current fiscal year, ending March 31, the company expects to earn $283m, up $50m from a previous estimate. Net profit for fiscal 2002 is forecast at $9.2m.