Japan’s TBS mulls Rakuten effort

Panel evaluates intentions

TOKYO — The TBS web has received replies from Internet mall Rakuten to a second round of questions about its TBS stock buy plans and will now decide within 90 days whether to activate poison pill measures against Rakuten, which currently holds more than 19% of TBS stock, the web announced on Monday.

A third-party panel convened on April 27 to evaluate Rakuten’s intentions toward TBS will invite Rakuten prexy Hiroshi Mikitani to a meeting, possibly as early as this week, to clarify Rakuten’s answers to the TBS questionnaire.

TBS has indicated that, based on Mikitani’s responses, it will decide within 90 days whether to implement anti-takeover measures to prevent Rakuten from gaining a 20% stake in TBS — and a greater say-so in the web’s corporate governance.

The bad blood between the two companies can be traced back to Rakuten’s massive October 2005 purchase of TBS shares, which the broadcaster regarded as a hostile takeover bid — and resisted fiercely. Ever since, Rakuten has been pushing for partnership talks, while TBS has demanded that Rakuten first unload its TBS shares before such talks begin.

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