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GDH & Goldman Sachs Team on Toon Fund

Japanese animation firm GDH is setting up a $43 million content fund with the Japan office of Goldman Sachs, reports VARIETY. GDH will issue share warrants to Jupiter Investment, a local Goldman Sachs affiliate. Goldman Sachs will sequentially consider investing in a content fund to be run by GDH Capital, a GDH group company, and GDH.

The fund will give production financing for animated content in TV, direct-to-video, features and online games, targeted at international audiences.

Unlike other Japanese animation majors that rely on production committees to finance feature films, GDH uses a U.S.-style investment structures, including special purpose corporations and completion bonds.

Formerly Gonzo Digimation Holding, GDH was formed in 2002 as a holding company from the merger of the Gonzo and Digimation animation houses. In 2004, Fuji TV, one of the company's largest local partners, acquired a 7.61% stake for $3 million.

GDH's biggest recent project with Fuji is the 3D feature BRAVE STORY, based on Miyuki Miyabes bestselling fantasy novel. Warner Bros. Japan will release it in Japan in July.

The company also is producing an animated version of WITCHBLADE, a popular U.S. action-adventure comic about a magical weapon that chooses a warrior women host. GDH will switch the setting to Tokyo in the near future and make the heroine Japanese. The series starts airing April 6, 2006, on Japanese TV.

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