The urbane veneer of business in Japan - beneath which the code of Bushido still prevails - has been shaken by the unseemly tussle for shares in radio company Nippon Broadcasting System.

Fuji Television Network had intended to buy out its willing affiliate for around ¥175 ($1.6bn, €1.2bn, £900m), but has been thwarted by internet firm Livedoor which recently acquired a 38% blocking stake in NBS [WAMN: 09-Feb-05].

Fuji has counter-attacked by reducing the size of the stake it seeks from fifty percent to 25.06% and has extended the offer deadline to March 2.

The move is based on a provision in Japan's commercial code which dictates that two companies in a cross-shareholding relationship both lose voting rights in each other once the ownership of one exceeds 25 percent in the other.

Fuji's stratagem is intended to foil any influence Livedoor may attempt to wield over the TV firm as Nippon Broadcasing's largest shareholder.

Currently, the commercial TV station has 12.39% stake in the radio company while Nippon Broadcasting is the largest shareholder in Fuji with a 22.51% stake.

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