Japan Video Leader Culture Convenience Club to Buy Publisher Tokuma

TOKYO — Culture Convenience Club, which operates Japan’s largest DVD and CD rental chain, Tsutaya, plans to acquire publisher Tokuma Shoten, according to Japanese media reports.

CCC subsidiary Culture Entertainment, whose businesses including publishing, will increase its stake in Tokuma from the current 15% to more than 90%, with the deal expected to complete by end of March.

Founded in 1954, Tokuma acquired one-time film industry major Daiei Studio in 1974, but sold it following founder Yasuyoshi Tokuma’s death in 2000. The publisher, however, is best known abroad for its early backing of Studio Ghibli, the animation house that made the hits of Hayao Miyazaki. Ghibli went independent in 2005, but Tokuma has continued to publish a lucrative line of books related to the studio’s enduringly popular animation.

Overall, however, the company’s sales have declined. Despite a declining DVD market, CCC set a corporate record last year for book and magazine sales, which totaled $1.1 billion. Through the purchase of Tokuma, CCC intends to expand its sales network and enhance its publishing expertise.

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