Japanese internet giant Livedoor is offering to ride to the rescue of TV company Tokyo Broadcasting System, currently under takeover threat from internet shopping portal Rakuten.

Rakuten has stealthily acquired a 15.5% slice of TBS, the nation's third largest TV company, for around ¥88 billion ($769m; €644; £439). It claims a takeover is not its aim; rather that it wants to form a holding company with the broadcaster to realise a media empire vision.

Livedoor has offered, if requested, to buy TBS shares to help defend the network, should it become the object of a hostile bid. It has also offered to provide financial advice and introduce TBS to legal specialists.

The irony of Livedoor's white knight act will not be lost on TBS executives. Earlier this year Livedoor attempted to gain control of Fuji Television [WAMN: 19-April-05] by buying up shares in affiliate Nippon Broadcasting System.

TBS says it considering both Rakuten's moves and Livedoor's proposals.

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