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May 27, 2010

Sony, Toppan, KDDI, Asahi Shimbun to establish Business Planning Joint Venture to develop the eBook Distribution Business

Sony Corporation
Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.
KDDI Corporation
The Asahi Shimbun Company

Sony Corporation, Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., KDDI Corporation, and The Asahi Shimbun Company have reached an agreement on basic terms to establish a business planning joint venture ('joint venture'), focusing on the eBook distribution business. The four companies aim to establish the joint venture on or around July 1, 2010.

Through discussions among its four members, this joint venture is intended to develop into an eBook distribution company that will build and manage a common distribution platform for books, comics, magazines and newspapers for the Japanese market. This company intends to start a content distribution service within this calendar year.

The introduction of digital devices that enhance the reading experience has heightened global interest in digital publishing. By utilizing their technologies and knowhow, the four participating companies aim to create an environment where publishers and newspapers can assuredly provide digital content, and plan to build one of the largest eBook distribution platforms in Japan.

The four participating companies and the joint venture will be open to other companies joining them in their initiatives to establish a market for eBook content in Japan. The eBook distribution company plans to construct an open platform which can deliver content to consumers through a range of devices.

Following discussions among the joint venture and participating companies, the eBook distribution company plans to handle content aggregation from publishers and newspapers, digital content authoring, platform management, sales, distribution and promotions. It will also provide the system planning, development, and construction which is necessary to support these functions.

The four participating companies as well as the joint venture will aim to develop the Japanese eBook market to offer a seamless experience to a wide range of consumers for them to enjoy eBooks, "at anytime, anywhere."

Yoshinobu Noma, Executive Vice President, Kondansha Ltd., endorsed the intended establishment of the joint venture.

"With the establishment of this joint venture concerning eBook distribution, we are hopeful about the accelerated process for creating a system whereby eBooks, which we publishers have promoted, can be delivered to consumers, "said Mr. Noma.

Also, Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc. as well as other publishers have endorsed these initiatives to establish the Japanese eBook market.

Overview of Business Planning Joint Venture

  • Date of Establishment
    : Planned for July 1, 2010
  • Business Activities
    : Planning/designing common eBook distribution platform
  • Stated Capital and Additional Paid-in
    : ¥30,000,000
    (Stated Capital: ¥15,000,000; Additional Paid-in Capital: ¥15,000,000)
  • Investment Ratio
    : Sony (25%), Toppan (25%), KDDI (25%), Asahi Shimbun (25%)
  • Board Members
    : To be appointed by each of the four participating companies
  • Location of Headquarters
    : To be determined
  • Number of Employees
    : To be determined
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