Asahi takes stake in Toei Co.

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TOKYO -- Japanese film studio Toei Co. said it will use ¥12.9 billion ($110 million) earned from the sale of its shares to TV Asahi Corp. and four other companies to invest in new facilities and film production.

In turn, TV Asahi will become the largest shareholder in the studio, with which it already has close working ties. At present, the terrestrial broadcaster controls 1.8% of Toei shares, that will now rise to 11.3%.

"We are selling a total of 19.7 million shares, and that will enable us to invest further in new movie production studios, additional equipment, digital technology and the shooting and production of new titles," Toei spokeswoman Sakura Wakita said.

Of the total, 14 million shares will be taken by TV Asahi, with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. among the four firms purchasing the remaining stake.

"Toei already has a very strong working relationship with TV Asahi and we hope this agreement will deepen those ties in the future," Wakita said.

The two firms previously set up a digital broadcasting business and have produced television programs and movie titles, including the "Kamen Rider" children's shows and animated series.
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