Nippon TV set to become largest shareholder of Studio Ghibli, turning it into subsidiary
It was announced on Thursday, September 21, 2023, via an urgent press conference that Nippon TV is set to become the largest shareholder in Studio Ghibli, making the animation studio its subsidiary. The broadcaster will acquire 42.3% of the shares of the world-renowned studio, which will give them a controlling share of the company and likewise allow them to take over the management.
Both Nippon TV and Studio Ghibli reached a decision at a board of directors meeting on Thursday. Per reports, both companies have been in talks about a possible acquisition since last year, apparently only recently finalizing all the details.
Studio Ghibli and one of its co-founders, veteran filmmaker and animator Hayao Miyazaki, have had a long relationship with Nippon TV, dating all the way back to 1985, when the Japanese broadcaster aired Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Since then, the two firms' partnership has grown stronger, with the broadcasting network frequently airing Ghibli films on Friday Roadshow, a movie program.
Studio Ghibli acquired by Nippon TV as a subsidiary after roughly a year of discussion
Nippon TV chairman Yoshikuni Sugiyama was joined at the urgent press conference by Studio Ghibli president and co-founder, Toshio Suzuki. The two mutually announced the planned acquisition, with Suzuki admitting that a search for a “successor” to the studio’s original group of co-founders was what prompted the acquisition plans.
Suzuki noted that, with himself being 75 and Miyazaki being 82, the time was now to figure out what was next for their company. As reported by Variety, it was revealed that Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki, was approached many times to become a successor to run the studio. However, Goro Miyazaki has refused all offers, citing management issues.
“Miyazaki Goro, the eldest son of founder Miyazaki Hayao and an animation film director himself, has been mentioned several times as the successor to Studio Ghibli. However, Miyazaki Goro himself firmly declined, believing that it would be difficult to carry Ghibli alone, and that it would be better to leave the future of the company to others," Studio Ghibli said in a statement.
While the acquisition has been announced, there has been no news on any plans by either Suzuki or Miyazaki to step down. The other two original co-founders of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata and Yasuyoshi Tokuma, tragically passed away in 2018 and 2000, respectively.
According to The Japan Times, Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki will take over as chairman, while Hayao Miyazaki will serve as honorary chairman. In addition, Hiroyuki Fukuda, the senior operations officer and board director at Nippon TV, will lead Studio Ghibli.
Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki most recently released The Boy and the Heron anime film, the Japanese title of which literally translates to How Do You Live?. The film was notably said to be Miyazaki’s last during pre-release and initially upon release, but it was shortly thereafter specified that Miyazaki would not be retiring after the film’s production.