Activist Investor Targets Japan's Tokyo Broadcasting

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London-based Asset Value Investors is pressuring the TV network and media company to return cash to shareholders by disposing of major stakes in other corporations.

Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings (TBS) is being pressured by a London-based activist investor to sell its stakes in other Japanese companies and return the cash to shareholders.

Asset Value Investors (AVI) has written to TBS, one of Japan's leading TV networks and media companies, to recommend it dispose of its stake in Tokyo Electron, a semiconductor and component maker. The broadcaster's stake in Tokyo Electron, valued at $843 million, is its largest shareholding and represents about a third of TBS' market capitalization.

Cross-shareholdings are a common feature of the Japanese corporate landscape, but the government has been pressuring companies to reduce them as part of measures to boost profitability and governance.

AVI currently owns 1.5 percent of TBS, worth around $57 million, and the investor plans to submit a resolution at the Japanese company's next annual shareholders' meeting if its recommendation is not followed.