Livedoor turns tumultuous page

Company introduces new board of directors

One-time Internet powerhouse Livedoor — which last year attempted a hostile takeover of giant Fuji TV before being brought low by a trading scandal — introduced a new board of directors at a tumultuous shareholders meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Representative director Noriyuki Yamazaki said Livedoor would seek unspecified damages from founder and former prexy Takafumi Horie and his team. He apologized to the 1,800 shareholders in attendance, of the 155,000 holding stock, for the drastic decline in Livedoor’s fortunes, starting with the arrests of Horie and his management team in January for violations of Securities and Exchange Law.

Yamazaki explained that the company had falsely stated its earnings to boost its stock price.

Livedoor shares fell from a height of 742 yen ($6.45) on Jan. 4 to 81¢ when the company was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on April 14.

Among appointees to the board were company prexy Kozo Hiramatsu, who took over from Horie following his arrest, exec vice prexy Yukihiro Shimizu and vic prexy Noritaka Ochiai. Broadband giant Usen prexy Yasuhide Uno, who bought a 12.75% stake in Livedoor from Fuji TV, was named an outside director, together with Usen director Eiji Sato.

Yamazaki, who officially stepped down from his post at the meeting, chaired a Q&A session with shareholders that turned into a near riot when he stopped taking questions and started reading the list of new directors, a little over three hours into the marathon meeting.

Shareholders, waiting in long lines at the mikes to ask questions, rushed the stage and jostled with security guards as Yamazaki and other execs beat a hasty retreat.

After 25 minutes, they returned and continued to take questions.

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