Rakuten Inc. President Hiroshi Mikitani told Rakuten shareholders Thursday that the company intends to closely guard its rights as a Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. shareholder, referring to its decision to put the bulk of its TBS shareholdings in trust.

The share move puts restrictions on Rakuten’s voting rights, but Mikitani said: “Under the trust contract, Rakuten retains its voting rights and we intend to see to it that they are properly guarded.”

In response to skepticism voiced about Rakuten’s motive for buying the large block of shares, Mikitani said that Rakuten, as a major shareholder, aims to get actively involved in improving the major broadcaster.

At the meeting, the first since Rakuten proposed integration with TBS last year, Mikitani said the TBS purchase was made based on a longer-term vision that takes in the spread of broadband Internet service, which is blurring the boundary between broadcasting and telecommunications. Teaming up with TBS would be a way of turning Rakuten into a comprehensive media firm, he said.

As for the ongoing negotiations, Mikitani said, “Our project team is conducting the talks in a friendly manner.”

Rakuten proposed a management integration with TBS on Oct. 13 after announcing it had acquired a 15.5 percent stake in the TV broadcaster. It later expanded the stake to over 19 percent.

TBS initially responded angrily to the integration proposal, but later agreed to start tieup talks after Mizuho Corporate Bank mediated the start of reconciliation.

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