Fuji TV Pays Out to End Livedoor Battle

19 April 2005

Hostilities in the battle between Japan's Fuji Television Network and internet upstart Livedoor have ended in alliance.

The TV network, Japan's biggest broadcaster, has agreed to pay Livedoor around ¥147.4 billion ($1.4bn, €1bn, £73m) to secure a 68.87% stake in its radio affiliate, Nippon Broadcasting System.

The deal, after a fiercly contested struggle, will buy Livedoor's fifty percent stake in NBS thereby nullifying its influence over the Fuji TV board. But the television company has also been forced to acquire a 12.75% share in the internet firm and a new ally.

Says Livedoor's young gun president Takafumie Horie: "I'm sorry to have caused a stir over the past two months. I'm excited because we've agreed to conclude a tieup aimed at linking broadcasting and communications, which has been my goal for the past decade."

Horie began his campaign for a link with Fuji TV ealier this year when he blocked an agreed takeover between it and NBS [WAMN: 09-Feb-05]. He acquired ever increasing numbers of radio company shares in a bid to have some sway over the TV network. The move was strongly defended by Fuji TV but it was eventually persuaded to negotiate with Livedoor.

Fuji TV president Koichi Murakami says one possible area of cooperation with Livedoor is television programming for broadcast on the internet.

Data from multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff