Fuji TV Wins Skirmish in Nippon War

10 March 2005

The on-going and increasingly complex battle for Japanese radio company Nippon Broadcasting System at present sees Fuji Television Network with a territorial advantage.

The TV company has now locked in just over 36% of ownership shares in its affiliate, while its arch rival, internet upstart Livedoor, has voting rights of more than 45%, with a target of fifty percent in its sights.

The two have traded bullets in the courts over NBS's plan to issue share warrants to Fuji, which would give it control of around 70% of the radio firm. The move would dilute Livedoor's voting rights to about twenty percent.

The internet company's young gun president, Takafumie Horie, has applied for a an injunction against the NBS plan, which he contests to be illegal. A decision by the court is expected this week.

Even if Livedoor obtains more than 50% and appoints half of NBS's directors, Fuji TV's 36% share would empower the TV network to vote down key managerial decisions.

The shareholding would also shield Fuji TV from Livedoor's influence via NBS, the TV network's top shareholder with a 22.5% stake.

Says Fuji TV chairman Hisashi Hieda: "It's meaningful that we are able to exercise a veto."

Data sourced from Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff