The tense standoff between Japanese online shopping firm Rakuten and television station Tokyo Broadcasting System appears to have been resolved - in theory at least.

The duo have agreed to discuss an operational alliance, thereby heading off a potential hostile bid by Rakuten. The latter has amassed a 19.09% stake in TBS over recent weeks, as it has tried to bend the reluctant broadcaster to its vision of a "world class" media empire through merger.

Rakuten ceo Hiroshi Mikitani and his TBS counterpart Hiroshi Inoue have signed a memorandum that includes an olive branch from the internet company undertaking not to exercise voting rights on a large block of its TBS shares.

Says Mikitani: "We decided to withdraw merger proposal for the time being. It is more important to deepen mutual understanding by discussing merits of a merger."

A more wary Inoue avers: "Because Rakuten is not completely releasing the TBS shares, we still have a certain level of tension. We should first build a mutual trust."

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