Usen, Daiwa pact on $263 mil fund

Company will use funds raised to underwrite films

Usen Corp., parent company of distributor Gaga Communications, will partner with Daiwa Securities SMBC in a ¥30 billion ($263 million) content fund.

Usen will pony up an initial 10% share of the total, or $26.3 million, on Tuesday.

Company will use funds raised to underwrite films made by Gaga, with titles yet to be announced. It also will actively seek other film investment opportunities in Japan and abroad while prioritizing the production of Gaga films that have international potential.

The partners each will contribute a 50% share of the total $263 million with the cooperation of their group companies. The fund will have a 10-year life. Partners also will jointly manage the copyrights generated by the fund.

Usen Corp., a major supplier of broadband services, paid $87.7 million for a 57.6% majority stake in Gaga in October 2004.

Founded in 1986 as a video import company, Gaga is now a major distributor of foreign films in Japan. Last year, the company entered film production, including youth-targeted titles “Waters,” directed by Ryo Nishimura; “Hatsukoi” (First Love), from Yoshinari Hanawa; and “Metro ni Notte” (Ride the Metro), from helmer Tetsuo Sasahara.

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