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Thu, Mar 16, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Livedoor considers business pact with online broadcaster

AFP , TOKYO

Japan's Livedoor said yesterday that it is considering a business tie-up with online movie provider Usen as it struggles to stay in business after an accounting scandal.

Livedoor, which has been indicted along with its founder and four associates for alleged financial fraud, said in a statement that an alliance with Usen was one possibility, but nothing had been decided.

"We're considering both a business and capital tie-up with several candidate firms," a Livedoor spokesman added.

"It's true that there are several companies that have offered to join hands with us," he said, declining to name the other potential partners.

Usen, an established radio broadcaster, has ambitiously expanded its business in the telecom sector, particularly with Internet movie broadcasting through fiber-optic broadband.

"Nothing has been decided yet," Usen said.

Earlier the Nihon Keizai business daily reported Usen is also in talks to buy a 12.75 percent stake in Livedoor from Fuji Television Network while also considering an operational tie-up.

Fuji Television president Hisashi Hieda indicated the group was open to a sale of the Livedoor stake, which the broadcaster acquired as part of a deal struck with the Internet firm to fend off its hostile bid.

"If someone assures us Livedoor can survive with its Internet business and if the shares we hold now can be used effectively for that purpose, that would be good," he said to reporters when asked whether Fuji TV might sell.

Usen president Yasuhide Uno, also a young entrepreneur in his early 40s, created manpower company Intelligence before replacing his father at the helm of the broadcaster.

Livedoor founder Takafumi Horie, 33, and four associates were hit with fresh indictments on Tuesday for allegedly tricking investors to hide losses at the once high-flying Internet firm.

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