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Yoshimoto Looking To Go Private

TOKYO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Yoshimoto Kogyo, one of Japan's top talent agencies is going private through a take-over deal that may be worth as much as $525 million.

According to Variety, the 97-year-old firm is in talks with a media consortium led by former Sony chairman Nobuyuki Idei, that includes Fuji Media Holdings and Nippon Television Network among other firms.

Yoshimoto Kogyo is a major presence in the Japanese market and reps over 800 artists, including most of Japan's top owari (comedy) performers. Yoshimoto also has television and film production divisions, operates a string of Japanese theatres, including Tokyo's Yoshimoto Mugendai Hall and Yoshimoto Shotengai, a theme park in Osaka.

Although Yoshimoto has of late focused on heavily on comedy due to the 'warai boom' (stand up/sketch comedy) in Japan, the company has recently started to expand their roster to include more musicians, singers and athletes.

Yoshimoto, like many other businesses in the entertainment sector has been facing a challenging economic climate and the company's leadership anticipates that by taking the firm private, they will have more latitude for reorganization. Yoshimoto saw its operating profits plunge 26.4% percent for the fiscal year ending in March 2009. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers