Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. plans to set up a holding company in fall next year, after the broadcasting law is revised in the first half of 2007, according to sources.

If the plan goes ahead as scheduled, TBS may become the first TV broadcaster to adopt a holding company structure, and other broadcasters may follow suit.

The regulations for broadcast holding companies, now under consideration at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, may limit individual firms to less than a 20 percent stake in the holding company in order to protect broadcasters from hostile takeovers, they said.

The plan is expected to affect alliance talks TBS is holding with Internet shopping mall Rakuten Inc., which had proposed a merger with TBS based on its ownership of nearly 20 percent of the broadcaster.

The sources claimed the TBS move to set up the holding company is aimed at reducing costs for local affiliates as Japan switches to terrestrial digital broadcasts by July 2011, and promoting the integration of telecommunications and broadcasting.

After the holding company is set up, it may be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in place of TBS. It would own TBS stock and some of the network’s 27 local affiliates.

The ministry is expected to submit the bill revising the broadcasting law to the ordinary Diet session in January.

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