Livedoor Goes to Court Over Nippon

01 March 2005

Japanese internet company Livedoor has made good its threat to use legal action in its acrimonious battle for control of national radio company Nippon Broadcasting System.

In a lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court, Livedoor claims NBS's subscription warrant is an illegal measure designed to thwart its takeover bid.

It also claims NBS's shareholders will be hurt by the allegedly illegal attempt to maintain Fuji Television Network's control over the radio broadcaster.

The injunction was taken out when NBS said it would grant its affiliate, Fuji, a subscription warrant to acquire 47.2 million new shares.

If Fuji exercises its right to buy all the new shares - 1.44 times the current number of outstanding stock - Livedoor's stake in NBS would fall below 20% from the current 40%. The move has been made to prevent Livedoor gaining any influence on the Fuji board.

Livedoor is expected to argue the issue of new shares is a violation of Japan's commercial code which makes provision for shareholders to seek injunctions against the issue of new shares if such actions are "extremely unfair".

NBS, which has already agreed to be taken over by Fuji, is likely to defend itself by arguing the subscription warrant is necessary to protect its corporate value. Fuji will also be asked to explain the appropriateness of the funds it raises to buy the new shares.

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