Net to pay $956 mil for 50% share of Nippon

Internet entrepreneur Takafumi Horie‘s audacious two-month battle to win control of Japan’s giant media conglom Fujisankei via a hostile takeover of two of its key divisions came to an end last week.

The question is: Who won?

Fuji TV will pay $956 million for the roughly 50% share in radio web Nippon Broadcasting Systems that Horie’s Internet portal Livedoor began acquiring two months ago.

This will make NBS an affil of Fuji TV and end the unbalanced cross-holding that meant the much smaller radio web had a controlling share in the giant Fuji TV, one of Fujisankei’s core holdings.

But Fuji TV chief Hisashi Hieda, 67, is “filled with shame” at the high price his company has been forced to pay to achieve this. And he’s had to go back on his vow never to work with upstart Livedoor: Fuji TV has taken a 15% stake in Livedoor for $410 million.

The pair will work to integrate their Internet and conventional media businesses — fulfilling Horie’s aim of gaining content for his portal.

But Livedoor has no guarantee the alliance will lead to concrete business advantages. In fact Horie’s first attempt to get content has failed.

He has been refused permission to stream the three-day Fujisankei Ladies Classic golf tournament, sponsored by Fuji TV and NBS, which began April 22.

“We are asking all Internet-related media, not just Livedoor, not to cover the tournament because of complications in publicity rights and sponsorships,” a Fuji TV exec says.

So much for the honeymoon.

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