TOKYO — Sony Corp. is in the final stages of purchasing a 10% stake in Japan’s top broadcaster, Fuji TV.
The alliance would create a diversified media giant — the largest in Asia, and one on par with some of the top media alliances in the U.S.
Industry watchers said that Sony’s purchase of an equity stake in Fuji TV by Sony could trigger a wave of alliances in Japanese media.
According to financial daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sony wants to complete the Fuji deal by the end of May.
Stake is expected to cost Sony about 100 billion yen ($945 million). Sony would be the second-largest shareholder in Fuji TV after Nippon Broadcasting, which owns 34%.
Radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting and Fuji TV are part of the Fuji-Sankei group and have a cross-shareholding relationship.
The newspaper also reported that Sony may buy part of the 13.9% stake in Fuji TV held by radio broadcaster Nippon Cultural Broadcasting.
“We have been holding talks with several broadcasters for possible business cooperation, including Fuji TV,” a Sony spokesman said.
Goals of the alliance would include the joint development of interactive TV services that would be applied to Internet services and digital terrestrial broadcasting, which is slated to start in Japan in 2003.
Sony and Fuji are already partners in Japan’s No. 1 satcaster, Sky PerfecTV.
The match between the two seems a strong one as Fuji TV is the most technologically advanced and global-minded of Japan’s commercial broadcasters. In the business year that ended March 31, 1999, Fuji TV generated revenues of $3.27 billion.