Fuji TV files suit against Livedoor

Kyodo News

Fuji Television Network Inc. said Monday it has filed a 34.55 billion yen damages suit against Livedoor Co., claiming the dot-com company’s securities fraud sharply cut the value of the TV broadcaster’s shareholdings in Livedoor.

Fuji TV, one of Japan’s largest private broadcasters, said in a statement that it had obtained Livedoor shares for 44 billion yen before agreeing to sell them to Yasuhide Uno, president of cable broadcaster Usen Corp., for only 9.5 billion yen.

Fuji bought a 12.74 percent stake in Livedoor to end a high-profile battle with the Internet company to gain control over radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. in 2005, but the sharp fall in Livedoor shares and the company’s delisting last year prompted Fuji to sell the stake at a loss.

Fuji TV said it finalized the plan to file the suit with the Tokyo District Court after seeing the court’s ruling last week on the Internet and financial services firm over accounting fraud and other securities law charges.

The Tokyo court fined Livedoor 280 million yen and Livedoor Marketing Co., now called media innovation Co., 40 million yen over the group’s accounting irregularities.

Fuji TV has so far asked Livedoor in writing to compensate it for the loss, claiming it acquired the Internet company’s shares based on falsified financial statements and incurred a heavy loss from the sharp decline in the price of the shares. The shares fell precipitously last year shortly after prosecutors, in a rare move without forewarning, raided the firm. The raid sent the Nikkei average into a nosedive.