Studio Ghibli, the iconic Japanese animation firm behind Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke, is selling a controlling stake to Japanese broadcaster Nippon TV after failing to find a successor for its legendary co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki.
The two companies’ board of directors met last week to approve the deal, which will see Nippon TV own 42.3% of Studio Ghibli’s shares. Studio Ghibli will become a subsidiary of the broadcaster.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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Studio Ghibli will be headed by Hiroyuki Fukuda, the Senior Operating Officer and Board Director at Nippon TV.
Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki will assume the position of chairman, while Miyazaki will be its honorary chairman.
The deal comes amid speculation over the future leadership of the studio. Miyazaki is 82 and Suzuki is 75.
Nippon TV has long aired Studio Ghibli works on its film programme, Friday Road Show.
It also has a long history of partnership with Studio Ghibli, including funding Ghibli film production since Miyazaki’s 1989 animation Kiki’s Delivery Service and it supported the opening of Ghibli Museum in Mitaka.
In a statement, Nippon TV said that Studio Ghibli has created works “loved by people from all over the world as well as Japan.”
“Nippon TV decided to acquire the shares of Studio Ghibli because Nippon TV believes that supporting this world-class studio more than ever before will contribute to enhancing the corporate value of the entire Nippon TV Group.”
Studio Ghibli released Miyazaki’s latest – and thought to be final animation - The Boy and the Heron in Japan on July 14.