Fuji shareholders fail to draw blood

Execs quizzed over Livedoor investment

TOKYO – Unlike other recent shareholder meetings in Japan, Fuji Television Network’s annual meeting Thursday passed off without major incident.

Execs did however have to answer awkward questions about the web’s disastrous tie-up with scandal-plagued Internet startup Livedoor, which recently held a distinctly rowdy meeting of its own. Fuji TV’s investment in Livedoor resulted in a Y34.5 billion ($300 million) loss when Fuji finally unloaded its Livedoor shares.

The web bought its 134 million Livedoor shares in May 2005 for $382 million, as part of an agreement to end Livedoor’s hostile takeover bid for a Fuji TV radio affiliate.

In March, following revelations of securities law violations by Livedoor execs, including maverick businessman Takafumi Horie, Fuji TV sold the shares to the prexy of broadband powerhouse Usen for about Y9.5 billion ($82.6 million).

Of the web’s 74,000 shareholders, 996 attended the meeting at a Tokyo hotel. During the 25-minute Q&A, eight asked Fuji TV execs questions about Livedoor, six about the web’s programming and two about the Fuji TV corporate outlook.

The two and a quarter hour meeting was actually nine minutes shorter than last year’s event.

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