Livedoor Closes in on NBS

25 March 2005

Japanese internet upstart Livedoor has won a significant legal battle in its takeover bid for venerable radio company Nippon Broadcasting System.

The High Court in Tokyo upheld an earlier ruling preventing NBS from issuing a share warrant to its affiliate - and the ultimate object of Livedoor's affections - Fuji Television Network.

The 'poison pill' move would have diluted Livedoor's considerable shareholding in NBS. The court ruled the share warrants were unfair to other stakeholders and could not be justified.

The ruling now clears the way for the internet firm's young gun president, Takafumi Horie, to finally take control of NBS and, more importantly, it transfers to Livedoor the radio broadcaster's 22.5% stake in Fuji TV - which in turn owns nearly 37% of NBS.

Horie is hoping to call a truce in the hostilities (the latter being anathema to the usually genteel if steely Japanese way of business) and to coax Fuji TV into an amicable alliance.

He says he wants NBS so he can advertise on its programs and draw listeners to his internet sites and services. He also wants to be in the forefront of change in Japan as traditional media and the internet become more closely integrated.

As evidenced by the aggressive way he has pursued his aims, Horie is used to getting what he wants.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff