Fuji Television Network Inc. is considering stepping in to help scandal-hit Livedoor Co., the TV network’s chairman said Thursday.

“It’s one of the options,” Hisashi Hieda told reporters. “If we determine (Livedoor) will grow, we may” help them.

Hieda said Fuji Television’s internal team, tasked with devising ways to raise the firm’s corporate value, is now researching and assessing the value of Livedoor’s assets with an eye to a possible takeover. Fuji TV is Livedoor’s second-largest shareholder.

Livedoor is being probed for alleged violation of securities laws. Ex-President Takafumi Horie and three executives were arrested Monday.

Hieda plans to soon meet with Livedoor’s new president, Kozo Hiramatsu, to ask how he plans to manage the firm.

Fuji TV sources said earlier the network is considering taking steps to help Livedoor’s rehabilitation, including a possible buyout, since the company changed top management.

Horie, founder of the Livedoor group and top shareholder with more than 17 percent of Livedoor Co.’s outstanding shares, resigned from all executive posts at the firm after he was arrested.

Fuji TV battled with Livedoor last year for control of radio station Nippon Broadcasting System Inc.

Nippon Broadcasting and Fuji TV are part of the Fujisankei Communications Group, a huge domestic media conglomerate. Livedoor tried to get control of the radio station to influence Fuji TV’s management.

Fuji TV and Livedoor reached a settlement last April in which they agreed to start talks on a business alliance over what they called a fusion of Internet and broadcasting services.

Under the deal, Fuji TV purchased a 12.75 percent equity stake in Livedoor for 44 billion yen, becoming its No. 2 shareholder after Horie.

Fuji initially said it could dissolve the capital and business tieup because Horie had resigned, but is now debating helping the company as Horie has completely withdrawn from management, the sources said.

On Thursday, Livedoor stock, listed on the TSE’s Mothers market for startups, lost 24 yen to close at 113 yen — less than one-sixth of its closing value of 696 yen on Jan. 16, before public prosecutors raided the firm.

The TSE has shortened the daily trading hours for Livedoor stock to between 2 and 3 p.m.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.