Anime Studio Ghibli acquired as it struggles to find Miyazaki successor

Studio Ghibli, the animation house behind Spirited AwayMy Neighbor Totoro and other movies, will become a unit of Nippon Television Holdings Inc., part of an effort to ensure its future as the home for world-renowned movies. 

The network will make Ghibli a subsidiary and hold 42% voting rights, the companies said in statement Thursday. Nippon Television promised to support the studio’s management and respect its autonomy, vowing to “forever protect the ‘craftmanship’ and brand value of Studio Ghibli.”

Hayao Miyazaki, studio’s leading director and main visionary, is now 82 years old. Although his son Goro is also an animation film director, he “firmly declined” taking on the responsibility of running the studio, which led to the decision to entrust its future to Nippon Television, they said in the statement. 

Ghibli gained greater international recognition when Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animated feature film in 2003, after it set a $300 million box-office record. Ghibli’s films have been translated into subtitles of 28 languages.

It was at a spa last year that representatives from Ghibli and the network met to discuss the studio’s future and protect its ability to make films, they said. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Nippon Television was the first to air Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in 1985. The network also supported the debut of the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, where guests are greeted by the fictional Totoro at the entrance. –BLOOMBERG