Toei selling shares to block Steel

Japanese animator hopes to tame US hedge fund

TOKYO — Japanese toon house Toei Animation is selling 935,000 shares worth $5 million to corporate parent Toei in an attempt to stop U.S. hedge fund Steel Partners, which has a 5% stake in Toei Animation, from gaining too much influence.

Move, announced Wednesday, follows a similar effort in May, when Toei Animation sold 110,000 shares to TV Asahi and 410,000 shares to Fuji TV, two networks that are already major Toei Animation shareholders and partners.

By boosting the stakes owned by its corporate allies, Toei Animation hopes to stave off bids by an outsider like Steel Partners to influence corporate governance or gain a seat on the board.

Toei Animation also announced that group net profit will amount to $9.26 million for the half ending in September, up from the original prediction of $7 million.

For the fiscal year ending in March, the company has revised its net profit forecast up from $11.4 million to $13.6 million.

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