Gonzo's Parent Company to Sell Off Game Subsidiary (Updated)
posted on by Egan Loo
GDH, the parent company of the anime studio Gonzo, has announced it will divest itself of its game development subsidiary Gonzo Rosso. GDH's board of directors made the decision during a meeting on Tuesday. The company says that the move will consolidate its resources as part of its larger restructuring plan to return to profitability. Whereas in recent years, GDH has divided its focus between animation and online games, it plans to refocus itself on its animation business with Gonzo. GDH already announced last month that it will absorb its Gonzo anime studio subsidiary on April 1 (the first day of the fiscal year for most Japanese companies), and the resulting company will adopt Gonzo's brand name.
The company that became Gonzo Rosso was established in 1963, and its current CEO is Hideki Moriya. Its core business has been online gaming, and it has 77 employees as of March 31. Among its titles are Master of Epic –The Resonance Age Universe–, Shaiya -Light and Darkness-, and The Tower of Druaga – the Recovery of BABYLIM -. Its capital is worth 862,770,000 yen (about US$8.85 million). Before Tuesday's announcement, GDH owned 54.56% of the company's stocks, while the toy manufacturer Takaratomy owned 15.43%. GDH's 45,603 shares of stock in Gonzo Rosso is worth 670 million yen (US$6.8 million). In the fiscal year ending in March of 2008, Gonzo Rosso racked up 1.635 billion yen (about US$16.8 million) in sales and garnered 36 million yen (US$370,000) in profit.
GDH announced last November that it will reduce its annual anime output from about eight projects to four. It did not specify which of its titles will still go forward in production. Gonzo had already announced that it would be working on the recently ended The Tower of Druaga: the Sword of Uruk anime, Slap Up Party: Arad Senki-, Shangri-La, Saki, and Alive - Saishū Shinka teki Shōnen in 2009. Notably, Alive - Saishū Shinka teki Shōnen is not listed on its website in its 2009 production slate. Alive - Saishū Shinka teki Shōnen was originally planned as a co-production between Gonzo and another anime studio, AIC.
GDH announced on Monday that it is ending its capital tie-up with Tablier Communications, a developer of net radio programs and merchandise related to anime and voice actors. GDH had acquired 5.9% of Tablier through a third-party allocation of shares for 34.5 million yen (US$352,000) in March of 2006. GDH's stake in Tablier stood at 3.68% as of Monday, before its planned sale of its stake to Kadokawa Shoten for 19.2 million yen (US$196,000).
Before the ongoing restructuring, GDH's group companies included Gonzo, Gonzo Rosso, the Future Vision Music management company, the Gonzino development studio for children's animation, and the GK Entertainment animation development studio. GDH already announced in November that it would sell off its GDH Capital financing subsidiary.
Update: Additional information on Gonzo Rosso, GDH's divestment from Tablier, and GDH's other subsidiaries added.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history