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March 26, 2007

35 Billion Yen Question - Should Fuji TV Be Sueing Livedoor or the Company Directors?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 3/26/2007 08:40:00 PM
The Japanese market is full of drama these days. It's like the market of 2002 in the US when Enron and Andersen were getting their pants sued off, for financial fraud. Fuji TV is suing LiveDoor for 34 billion yen to reclaim the loss it incurred from buying shares of LiveDoor. LiveDoor was close to taking over Fuji TV and in a successful attempt at greenmail, LiveDoor got Fuji to buy several hundred million (USD) of LiveDoor stock. Of course, LiveDoor was faking it all the way to the bank - the numbers, particularly its profits, were nowhere as rosy as it advertised. Ooops.

Fast forward 2 years later, LiveDoor is delisted. Fuji TV lost 35 billion yen on its investment and its pissed. Who wouldn't be? But the big question is this: Who should really be getting sued? LiveDoor the company and its shareholders, or the directors of LiveDoor? In my opinion, the directors of LiveDoor are the ones liable, not the shareholders. The directors perpetuated the fraud and actually gained financially from the fraud. The shareholders didn't. In fact, by suing LiveDoor (the company and the shareholders), Fuji is basically dividing the shareholder base - and sticking it to the poor shareholders of LiveDoor who have already lost several billion dollars combined.

I think Fuji should really rethink its case. After all, as a former LiveDoor shareholder, Fuji lost money just like the other shareholders because of the actions of the dishonest management team. The former managers and the directors of LiveDoor are the ones who perpetuated the fraud, not the shareholders. I would much rather see the directors getting sued, since it would actually do something for shareholders. These guys made millions from it. In fact, one of the those lucky LiveDoor crooks is even planning to use his fortune to become an astronaut! That is why I think Fuji is suing the wrong team. Fuji should sue the criminals and show other companies with rotten management that financial fraud can land directors and managers with personal liability.

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