Tokyo Electric Power Co., Kodansha Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. have applied to sell their shares in Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. to Fuji Television Network Inc. to support the network’s takeover bid for the radio broadcaster, officials of the three firms said separately Friday.
The move marks the first time companies outside the Fujisankei Communications Group, to which Fuji TV and Nippon Broadcasting belong, have acknowledged support for Fuji TV’s tender offer, launched in January.
The tender has been challenged by Internet company Livedoor Co.
Tepco, Japan’s largest power utility, Kodansha, a major privately held publisher, and Mitsubishi Electric said they decided to support Fuji TV’s bid because they wanted to maintain good business relations with the Fujisankei group.
Tepco officials said the utility took steps on Feb. 17 to sell its 159,980 shares in Nippon Broadcasting, or 0.49 percent of all outstanding shares. The power company bought the shares in 1954, when the AM radio broadcaster was established, at 500 yen per share.
Kodansha officials said the publisher applied Wednesday to sell about 180,000 shares in the radio company.
Mitsubishi Electric officials said they concluded steps on Jan. 31 to sell its 72,000 shares in NBS, or 0.22 percent.
The step by the major electronics appliance company is aimed at maintaining its deals with Fuji TV, to which it sells broadcasting-related products, the officials said.
Fuji TV has offered to purchase Nippon Broadcasting shares at 5,950 yen per share. The stock of the radio company, listed on the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, closed Thursday at 6,280 yen.
The battle between Livedoor and Fuji TV over control of Nippon Broadcasting has intensified as Livedoor took legal action Thursday to prevent the radio station from issuing share warrants to Fuji TV to thwart Livedoor’s takeover bid.
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