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Link: Blackstone taps steamy romance manga fans in $1.7 billion deal - The Japan Times

Blackstone is betting on the popularity of Japanese manga with a $1.7 billion deal to buy a digital provider of romance comics. The world’s largest alternative asset manager will launch a tender offer for Infocom in its biggest private equity transaction in Japan to date, the U.S. firm said in a statement on Tuesday. The deal will allow Blackstone to tap into Japan’s digital manga market, which has rapidly grown into a $3 billion industry. Infocom’s main source of revenue is from Mecha Comics, a website and app where users can pay as little as a few cents to read a chapter of serialized comics. Some of the most popular titles include workplace comedies or fantasy melodramas with intimate romantic storylines. Digital manga sales in Japan grew 7.8% in 2023 to around ¥483 billion ($3.1 billion) — nearly double the revenue in 2019, according to the Research Institute for Publications. Concurrently, sales of print manga have been falling and were down 8% last year. Blackstone will buy a majority stake in Infocom from Teijin and launch a tender offer for the rest at ¥6,060 a share, a statement from the e-comic company showed on Tuesday. The deal values Infocom’s equity at about ¥275 billion ($1.7 billion), making it one of the biggest acquisitions of a Japanese company announced this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. #


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