“Cool Japan” Consortium To Buy U.S. Subtitling Giant

“Cool Japan” Consortium To Buy U.S. Subtitling Giant

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TÖKYÖ — Public-private investor Cool Japan Fund has announced that it will partner with the film company Imagica Robot Holdings Inc. and trader Sumitomo Corp. in acquiring the American-owned SDI Media Group Inc. for $160 million. SDI Media is the world’s largest media dubbing and subtitling company.

The acquisition is expected to allow for more Japanese films and television programs to be localized and promoted to overseas markets, as SDI has a foothold in 37 countries and provides services in more than 80 languages.

Imagica, which handles many facets of film and television production and post-production, from planning to editing, will hold the largest 50.1 percent stake and make SDI a subsidiary, while Cool Japan Fund will have 49.6 percent and trading house Sumitomo the remaining 0.3 percent, according to the fund.

Annual sales of the overseas screening rights to Japanese television programs flattened out recently at around 6 billion yen ($50.5 million), outpaced by South Korean programs.

Through SDI’s network, the new owners anticipate being able to release subtitled and dubbed versions of Japanese productions faster and at about half the current cost, said a fund official.

The Japanese government is hoping to expand overseas recognition of Japanese cultural products through its “Cool Japan” strategy. The Cool Japan Fund is backed by the national government along with a group of major Japanese firms. Fund officials hope the acquisition will allow more media content made in regions outside of Tökyö to reach overseas markets.

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