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Kokudo Corp. said Monday it will not sell the Seibu Lions professional baseball club.

Kokudo President Minoru Mikami made the denial in a statement issued amid growing speculation that Kokudo will have to sell off assets as a result of a plunge in the value of Seibu Railway Co. shares, a core financial base for the firm.

Kokudo has approached several potential buyers, including Internet service provider Livedoor Co., whose bid to join pro baseball next season ended in failure.

However, negotiations have been difficult given the high offering price of 20 billion yen for selling the Lions, informed sources said.

Kokudo will freeze the sales talk for the moment, but the issue could be brought up again as the Seibu group needs to take bold restructuring measures, they said.

Meanwhile, Livedoor issued a statement saying it has “no intention at the moment to buy Seibu Lions.” But the company said it may consider the purchase if certain conditions are met, including lowering the sales price to less than 10 billion yen.

Kokudo as an unlisted firm does not release detailed financial information. But according to data it has released, it had a total of 383 billion yen in assets as of the end of March.

The market value of Seibu Railway shares owned by Kokudo was 421.3 billion yen at that time, giving the company large unrealized assets.

Since Oct. 13, when Kokudo announced it had falsified information on its shareholdings in Seibu Railway, the price of Seibu Railway shares has plunged below 450 yen from more than 1,000 yen just before the announcement.

This means the value of Seibu Railway shares owned by Kokudo has plummeted to 93 billion yen.

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