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Japan agency to go private

Yoshimoto Kogyo nets media deal

Japan’s 97-year-old talent agency Yoshimoto Kogyo is planning to go private in a deal worth between $420 million and $525 million.

Listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Yoshimoto is reportedly negotiating with a media consortium including Nippon Television Network, TBS Holdings and Fuji Media Holdings that plans to launch a fund for a takeover bid.

The consortium, said to be headed by former Sony chairman Nobuyuki Idei, plans to borrow the coin from Japanese banks.

Yoshimoto management wants to move from public to private to give it a freer hand in restructuring.

In common with many other production and talent houses, Yoshimoto has been under profit pressure in the TV biz slump and looking to cut costs and form alliances to weather the recessionary storm.

Japan’s largest talent shop, Osaka-based Yoshimoto manages nearly 800 artists including some of the biggest names in comedy. It also manages theaters, produces TV shows and pics and engages in other media businesses. For the fiscal year ending in March, sales totaled $514 million, down 2.5%, while operating profit plunged 26.4% year-on-year to $45.8 million.

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