Keyholder is taking hold of Nogizaka46
The Japanese company Keyholder has announced in a stock exchange announcement dated 14 May 2020 that the company has acquired the Japanese company “North River Inc. Keyholder, which had acquired the Japanese idol group SKE48 from Vernalossom (AKS) in November 2018, thereby securing a 50 percent shareholding in the Japanese talent agency Nogizaka46 LLC. North River’s core business is transport, concert and fan support services. North River was owned in equal parts by Akimoto Y. and Akimoto Shin. as well as Koyraku and Vernalossom.
The acquisition of North River Inc. by Keyholder is likely to be part of the agreement between Aki-P and Keyholder, which obliges Aki-P to actively support Keyholder’s share price at a unit price of less than 65 yen per share and to purchase shares at a cost price of 125 yen. This limit was undercut in spring 2020. After Vernalossom had announced in spring to withdraw from the Japanese entertainment market around the AKB48 Group and since there are family connections between Kyoraku and Vernalossom, this might be the reason why Kyoraku also withdraws from North River and clears the way for a complete takeover by Keyholder. After the takeover became known, Keyholder’s share price shot up by 30 yen.
Keyholder justifies the takeover with synergy effects, because Keyholder and North River offer similar services and Keyholder is already involved in various cooperations with Nogizaka46 and Hinatazaka46. In particular, Keyholder emphasized the importance of Nogizaka46 for the future of Japanese show business.