TBS Shareholders fight takeover plans

Vote to reject proposal for Rakuten additions

TOKYO — Shareholders of Japanese web TBS voted Thursday to reject a proposal by Internet mall Rakuten to add two directors to the TBS board.

Also, 77.1% of the shareholders at the annual shareholders meeting in Tokyo voted to approve anti-takeover measures aimed at Rakuten, which plans up its TBS stake to 20% and gain a greater voice in the web’s corporate governance.

In a post-meeting press conference, TBS prexy Hiroshi Inoue said the votes for the web’s poison-pill proposal were “greater that we had expected.”

He also said he could not agree with Rakuten’s stock-buying methods. He “felt them to be somewhat antagonistic” and said if Rakuten was serious about partnering with TBS it should first “sell its TBS shares.”

“The ball is on Rakuten’s court,” Inoue said. He refused to comment on Rakuten’s reported plan to take TBS to court if thwarted in its stock buy bid.

A third-party panel is still studying Rakuten’s intent in buying up TBS stock and will deliver a report within 80 days, he said. “After we receive their report, we’ll decide what to do next.”

TBS and Rakuten have been at loggerheads ever since Rakuten snapped up a 19% share of TBS shares in fall 2005 and demanded the web enter partnership talks. TBS responded that it would sit at the table only if Rakuten first unload its TBS shares, a demand that Rakuten repeatedly rejected.

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