TOKYO — Toy and gamemaker Bandai has taken a 33.4% stake in Tsuburaya Prods., creator of the iconic “Ultraman” series, for 900 million yen ($8.5 million), Bandai announced on Monday.
Bandai is purchasing the shares from TV production house TYO, which owns Tsuburaya, while acquiring exclusive merchandising rights for “Ultraman toys” and other character goods.
Bandai already markets “Ultraman” goods on an annual contract. By acquiring exclusive marketing rights in perpetuity the company hopes to strengthen its long-term marketing strategy, while boosting sales of “Ultraman” goods from the current $56.6 million annually to $95 million.
Founded by special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya in 1963, Tsuburaya Prods. created many classic tokusatsu (live-action special effects) shows for television, including “Ultraman” and his extended family who protect the earth from space monsters.
The company, however, could not save its falling bottom line and found shelter under the TYO corporate umbrella in October.
Despite the Bandia stake, Tsuburaya will continue to be a TYO affiliate.