Lamigo Monkeys’ officials yesterday said that the club would still play home games at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium following its sale to Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc, an electronics and Internet firm.
Rakuten and La New Corp, the former owner, made the official announcement at a news conference in Taipei that was attended by Lamigo general manager Justin Liu (劉玠廷), Rakuten Asia chief operating officer Takashi Watanabe, Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles general manager Kawada Yoshinori.
“La New has reached an agreement with Rakuten in which our shares in Lamigo would be completely sold to the Japanese corporation,” Liu said, adding that it began the procedure on July 3.
Even though the team attracted many suitors after it announced in July that it was looking for a buyer, Liu said that Rakuten was the most active one.
They quickly reached a deal, as they shared similar ideas on how the team should be managed, he said.
Rakuten pledged to keep the club’s administrative staff and remain in Taoyuan, he said.
Asked how much Rakuten paid to acquire La New’s stake, Watanabe declined to disclose the exact amount, as both sides signed a nondisclosure agreement.
“We have yet to decide on a new name following the change of ownership,” Watanabe said. “We are discussing several possibilities, but it is certain that ‘Lamigo’ will be no longer be part of it.”
Watanabe said that Rakuten would discuss keeping Liu as general manager, as he and his father, Monkeys founder Liu Pao-yu (劉保佑), are passionate about what they do.
Liu said that La New would continue managing the team through the second half of this season, the Taiwan Series, the World Baseball Softball Confederation Championship and a farewell game for fans.
“Before we hand the team over to Rakuten, we would continue to do our jobs,” Justin Liu said. “I do not think too much about the future. At the moment, I am just focused on taking the team higher and making sure that our experience is passed on to the new management.”
He also spoke about the difficulty of financing the team and his expectations of the new owners.
“La New is a small corporation and we could only cover costs by focusing on selling tickets, boxed lunches and team merchandise,” he said. “However, Rakuten runs e-commerce and financial technology businesses apart from managing sports teams, which helps market teams.”
The CPBL’s regulations stipulate that foreign investors can hold no more than a 49 percent stake in a baseball team if it is a new team entering the league, but the Rakuten transfer involves an existing team selling ownership to a foreign investor, Wu said.
The rules do not limit foreign investment for ownership changes, he said.
The deal would be accepted by the league as long as its executive council — formed by other teams in the league — agree, Wu said.
The deal is likely to be approved by the executive council, he added.
Rakuten has been running its e-commerce business in Taiwan for 10 years and has secured a virtual bank license from the Financial Supervisory Commission, he said, adding that it is buying a well-managed team.
The deal would generate discussion among fans, boost ticket sales and facilitate the exchange of professional baseball teams between Taiwan and Japan, he said.
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
PROTECTION LACKING: DPP Legislator Lai Pin-yu said that currently, victims cannot legally force online platforms to remove sexual videos or imagery of them A bill to prevent the nonconsensual distribution of imagery or videos of sexual acts between adults on Friday passed a first reading and has been forwarded to a Legislative Yuan committee to be discussed. The bill was jointly proposed by 18 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators. It seeks to promote gender equality, uphold righteous and moral social conduct and to protect the privacy of individuals, all of which would help prevent incidents similar to South Korea’s “Nth Room” case, the proposal said. The Nth Room involves a criminal investigation into the distribution of sexually exploitative videos via the Telegram app from 2018 to