Livedoor Threatens Legal Action Over Nippon

25 February 2005

The Japanese courts may be called on to adjudicate the increasingly hostile dispute over the acquisition of radio company Nippon Broadcasting System.

In a step rarely taken among Japan's genteel business hierarchy, internet upstart Livedoor is threatening an injunction against its rival, Fuji Television Network.

The latest twist in the tale comes as Livedoor's young gun president Takafumie Horie accuses NBS of an "illegal" act to thwart his takeover of the radio broadcaster. Livedoor has upped its stake to 41% during recent weeks.

NBS, which has already agreed to be taken over by affiliate Fuji TV, now says it will grant a subscription warrant for Fuji to acquire 47.2 million new shares. That figure is 1.44 times the current number of its outstanding shares.

If Fuji exercises its right to buy, Livedoor's stake would fall below 20%.

Some legal experts believe NBS's move is contrary to the country's commercial code and that Horie may succeed in blocking it.

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