Report: Sony to Take Stake in Japanese TV Network

TOKYO (04/24/2000) - Consumer electronics powerhouse Sony Corp. is in talks to take a 10 percent stake in Fuji Television Network Inc., a major Japanese television network, according to the Monday morning edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Reacting to the news, Sony issued a brief statement that acknowledged talks with broadcasters were under way and neither confirmed nor denied the newspaper report.

The stake, which would make Sony the second largest shareholder in the broadcaster, will cost the company over 110 billion yen (US$1.04 billion), said the report.

Talks between the two parties, which are in their final stages, according to the newspaper, has digital television and broadband entertainment at its heart.

Fuji TV is highly regarded for its entertainment programming and Sony has been increasing seeking to merge its large base of multimedia content, which includes music, movies and television with the Internet and broadband network services.

"In the development of its network business, Sony is studying a number of options and developing business relationships with commercial broadcasting stations is part of this. This process is at an initial stage and no decisions have been reached," said the company's statement.

The two companies are already partners in a number of broadcasting-related ventures. They each own an 11.375 percent stake in Japan Digital Broadcasting Services Inc., which operates the SkyPerfecTV digital satellite broadcasting service, and Fuji TV is one of a number of partners in IBC, a data broadcasting company led by Sony that plans to send digital content to subscriber homes by satellite.

Sony, in Tokyo, can be contacted online at http://www.sony.co.jp/. Fuji Television Network, also in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.fujitv.co.jp/.

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