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Web man has plan for Japan

Horie hurries in media bid

TOKYO — Upstart Internet entrepreneur Takafumi Horie has outlined his vision for the media conglom that owns Japan’s giant Fuji TV if his hostile bid succeeds — and he intends to be bigger than Rupert Murdoch.

“Murdoch has a media conglomerate. We want to be a media, Internet and financial conglomerate,” he said at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

“The potential of the Internet has only been used to about 5%,” said Horie, enumerating the possibilities offered by the Internet-broadcasting fusion. “That’s why we want to get engaged. There is no time to lose, and that’s why we made our move.”

Known for his flamboyant style and grand words, the prexy-CEO of Internet portal operator Livedoor used the opportunity to woo media representatives to the fullest.

His battle for control over the radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System — and its much larger affil Fuji — is far from over. His company has filed a temporary court injunction to block NBS’ issuance of stock warrants to give Fuji a chance to retain its majority in NBS.

The aggressive takeover bid has rattled Japan’s business world, dominating daily headlines.

The 32-year-old whiz kid has become a champion of Japan’s youth, who see in him a David taking on Japan’s Goliaths with their cozy relationships and handshake deals.

At the same time, the man who made his fortune with clever stock deals and mergers during the Internet bubble is the new paragon of the “Anglo-Saxon, American and Jewish” financing world, as television commentators opine without qualms.

Major companies, such as Daiwa Securities, Tokyo Electric Power and Kansai Electric Power are backing Fuji by offering their minor holdings in NBS to the network.

Fuji also has threatened to sever business ties with NBS if the radio stations fall under Livedoor’s control.

NBS makes 20% of its revenues from radio broadcasts and 70% as sales agent for Fuji TV’s content through its video, music and publishing divisions.

The Tokyo District Court started hearings on the stock warrant case on Wednesday. Its decision will have a significant impact on the image of Japan’s stock market among foreign investors, who see the case as a watershed conflict between the old and the new in the Japanese business world.

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