An investment fund led by financier Yoshiaki Murakami again became a major shareholder of Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. as of the end of March, holding more than 4 percent of the broadcaster’s outstanding shares, TBS sources said Saturday.
The fund has not made any proposals to the TBS management so far, senior officials at the broadcaster said. The 4 percent figure includes shares whose ownership has not yet been rewritten.
The development has made TBS management uneasy, putting it on guard against any attempts by the fund to influence its business activities, such as its ongoing tieup talks with Rakuten Inc., the sources said.
Rakuten, Japan’s largest Internet mall operator, acquired a 15.46 percent stake in TBS and proposed integrating their management under a joint holding firm. Some believed at that time Rakuten was influenced by Murakami, who had reportedly recommended information and technology companies buy broadcasters’ shares, the sources said.
The sources said the Murakami fund held a 7.45 percent stake in TBS at the end of last September and lowered the stake to 0.5 percent by the end of October. The fund again raised it to more than 2 percent later, then to more than 4 percent this year.
At present, Rakuten is TBS’s biggest shareholder with a stake of about 19 percent, followed by the Murakami fund, the sources said.
Rakuten and TBS have been in business tieup talks since the Internet firm compromised and scrapped the idea of a management integration. Rakuten also put the majority of its stake in trust at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co.