Co. to sell GDH Finance to Yayoi

TOKYO – Japanese toon house GDH announced plans Friday to trim 50 full-time staffers through early retirements. The cuts amount to 20% cent of GDH’s full-time work force. Staffers who accept the deal will get one month’s pay as a special retirement payment, costing company a total of $126,000.

The cuts will come from GDH’s toon production subsid Gonzo, which will also trim contract employees for a total work force reduction of 225. Staffers at online game unit Gonzo Rosso will be spared.

Gonzo will be taking applications for early retirements from December 1 to 12, with those accepting the deal to depart the company by the end of January.

In a related restructuring move, GDH announced on Friday that it is selling its GDH Finance subid to the Tokyo-based Yayoi investment group for $2.23 million.

GDH started GDH Finance in December 2005 with a capitalization of $3.15 million, but the contents investment unit has been bleeding red ink for the past three years.  

Launched in 2000, GDH releases toon content under its Gonzo brand. Titles include the “Afro Samurai” TV action series, 2006 hit “Brave Story” action/fantasy feature, which Gonzo made in cooperation with Fuji TV and Warner.

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