Japan's TBS Strikes Out with Potential Baseball Team Buyer

Tokyo Station Fails to Unload Loss-Making Franchise

TOKYO -- The leading bidder for the Yokohama BayStars baseball team has dropped out, meaning Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings may be left with another year running the loss-making franchise that the financially-troubled TV network can ill afford.

Media rival Fuji Holdings owns around 30% of the team through a subsidiary.

TBS was hoping to unload its 70% stake in the BayStars to the JS Group -- a home building equipment and toilet maker.

However the network was against the JS Group plan to move the team to Niigata on the opposite coast of Japan.

JS Group stock jumped over 4% on Tuesday after rumors that the planned purchase wasn’t going through cheered investors. 

The only other company in the running to buy the perennial losers of the Central League is Yokohama-based electrical retailer Nojima Corp. TBS is believed to have doubts about whether Nojima has the resources to underwrite and manage the franchise, although CEO Hiroshi Nojima issued a statement saying he still wants to buy the club.

To comply with league rules, a deal would have to be agreed and approved by fellow club-owners by the end of November, meaning TBS will have to find another 2 billion yen ($24 million) next year for the team from its already strained coffers.

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