Livedoor Mulls Legal Action to Zap Fuji's White Knight

28 March 2005

Livedoor, the Japanese internet upstart that shocked the nation's conservative financial establishment with its tearaway takeover tactics, is considering legal action to thwart the eleventh-hour intervention of Softbank Investment in its labyrinthine battle to acquire Nippon Broadcasting System.

Softbank has assumed the defensive role of White Knight, intervening in the takeover battle by "borrowing for five years" a 13.88% stake in Fuji TV, a key NBS affiliate and ultimate object of Livedoor's affections.

Livedoor, which is now believed to have acquired a majority stake in NBS, covets the broadcaster's 22.5% stake in Fuji TV - possession of which would enable it to coerce Fuji and NBS into an alliance that would integrate conventional media and internet services.

Softbank ceo Yoshitaka Kitao will reportedly meet today (Monday) with Livedoor president Takafumi Horie to discuss the situation. The talks are likely to be terse and lawyers expect legal action to follow.

But then they would, wouldn't they.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff