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Sumitomo ups Ace stake

Company holdings now at 75.3%

TOKYO — Sumitomo Corp. has upped its stake in Tokyo-based film producer-distributor Asmik Ace Entertainment to 75.3% and intends to create synergies with its own cable TV movie channels and cinema biz.

It bought the 27.6% stake from the Kadokawa Shoten Publishing media group, which now holds 20%; other investors have the remaining 4.7%.

Asmik Ace Entertainment is the result of an April 1998 merger between Sumitomo subsidiary Asmik, then primarily a distrib of Hollywood product, and Ace Pictures, a Kadokawa subsidiary engaged in production and distribution.

Since the merger, Asmik Ace Entertainment has produced such hits as “Ping Pong,” “Kisarazu Cats Eye,” “Josee,” “The Tiger and the Fish” and “Yaji and Kita — The Midnight Pilgrims.”

In partnership with DreamWorks and EuropaCorp, Asmik Ace has become a leading distrib of Hollywood and other foreign product, including “Munich,” “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” and “Transporter 2.”

It’s also active in animation production, home video, TV rights and remake rights, beginning with J-horror hit “The Ring.”

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