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Gaga Corp., Leading Japanese Indie Film Company, Sold to Gaming Firm Genda



Leading Japanese indie film company Gaga Corporation has seen a controlling share stake sold to Genda Inc., a fast-moving entertainment conglomerate with its roots in arcade gaming.

Genda is buying the 78% share holding owned by Gaga chairman Tom Yoda’s T.Y. Limited company. Yoda will retain the outstanding 22% in his own name and stay on as Gaga’s chairman and representative director. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

While a new management structure will see Sato Yuzo, director, CCO of Genda, become the representative director and president/CEO, and Kataoka Nao, founder and representative director and chairman of the board at Genda, will become director of the board at Gaga, Gaga’s other senior management remain unchanged in their posts.

Gaga was founded in 1986, with T.Y. Limited coming on board in 2009 as majority owner. Today it operates as producer, distributor and sales agent.

In the 15 years under Yoda’s management Gaga has distributed seven Oscar best picture winners in Japan, including “CODA” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and four Palme d’Or winners including “Shoplifters” and “Anatomy of a Fall.”

Gaga says it is now seeking further diversification into anime production, international co-production, game and “character businesses derived from anime through omnidirectional windows including digital platform.”

It says that these ambitions are “perfectly matched” with those of Genda which has a vision to be a world’s number one entertainment company. In particular, Genda intends to expand and strengthen its global entertainment content business.

Launched only four years ago, Genda has made a string of acquisitions that give it a core business of owning or operating some 260 amusement arcades, many under GiGO brand. Its other acquisitions have given it a presence in cinema advertising, popcorn, character design and VR content development.

“Mr. Kataoka of Genda and I have established a close relationship since he became president and representative director of Aeon Entertainment in 2017. Exchanging business ideas and strategies, he seems to be inspired by my longtime experiences and networks in the entertainment business, including music, film, game, character, broadcast and manga. Having perfectly-matched vision and values, we are very excited to work with Genda to generate synergies for both companies,” Yoda said. “For the 40th anniversary of Gaga in 2026, we will keep going full throttle with the multi-portfolio strategy with Genda.”

Aeon is one of Japan’s largest retail conglomerates operating supermarkets (Maxvalu), convenience stores (Ministop), hypermarkets (Jusco) malls and consumer credit firms as well as the Aeon Cinema chain.

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