Microsoft to back Japanese web

Company to invest in JIB

TOKYO — Microsoft and 12 other companies will invest in Japan Intl. Broadcasting (JIB), Japan’s first English-language broadcasting service, according to an unsourced report in the Nikkei business newspaper on Thursday.

The company, a subsid of pubcaster NHK, has capital of $1.48 million and will issue $1.75 million in new shares in October.

In addition to Microsoft, corporate buyers will include four major networks, Mizuho Corporate Bank and other companies not yet announced. After the cash injection, NHK’s stake in JIB will fall to about 60%.    

Launched in April, JIB moved from the planning stage to full-scale operations on Sept. 1. In February it plans to start a 24-hour English-language broadcasting service via cable, satellite and broadband featuring NHK news and other NHK shows, as well as original programming.

By the end of March, it hopes to reach 110 million households worldwide in North America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia.

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