Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. announced Wednesday that it will issue 20.6 billion yen in new shares to major ad agency Dentsu Inc. and several of its other business partners to raise money for new projects.
The television broadcaster also said it will invest 10 billion yen in eAccess Ltd.’s mobile phone business as part of efforts to build its presence in the nation’s wireless network, which is rapidly gaining influence as a media outlet.
TBS will issue 9.92 million new shares, or some 5.5 percent of all its outstanding shares, to Dentsu, Bic Camera Co., Mitsui & Co. and Mainichi Broadcasting System Inc.
The large share issue was viewed by some as an attempt to prevent potential hostile takeover, but TBS Senior Managing Director Keizo Zaitsu denied that during a news conference.
Meanwhile, at a separate news conference the same day, Yoshiaki Murakami, head of M&A Consulting Inc., declined comment on media reports that his fund had acquired a stake in TBS.
The bureaucrat-turned-fund manager is well-known for his aggressive stance toward management teams he deems ineffective in producing shareholder value.
Coupled with increased sales of outstanding shares to the same group of companies, TBS will raise a total of 28 billion yen.
TBS, which has been dependent on its traditional TV broadcasting business, said the money will be invested in new businesses, including mobile phones and digital content.
TBS officials explained that the company would be focusing on its presence in new media, including wireless networks and the Internet.
Japan’s high-speed, third-generation mobile phone network allows transmission of so-called rich content, including movies and music, to be downloaded to handsets, making them a powerful media outlet.
The 10 billion yen investment in eMobile Ltd., a unit of eAccess, which provides ADSL Internet access, is part of such efforts, TBS said. The companies said they will work together to develop content for mobile phones and other businesses using wireless networks.
“The world of mass media is witnessing a huge change that rivals the shift from radio to TV,” TBS Senior Managing Director Kenichiro Kidokoro said. “Mobile phones will become a very powerful personal data terminal in the future.”
Once regulators grant it a license, eAccess said it plans to launch a mobile network by the end of fiscal 2006, starting with data communications.
The telecom ministry has said it plans to give mobile phone licenses to two new entrants by the end of this year to encourage market competition.
It will allow new entries for the first time in more than a decade in Japan’s mobile phone market, which has been dominated by NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Vodafone K.K.
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