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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Livedoor will stick with its name

Corporate identity still considered an asset despite high-profile scandal


Staff writer

Livedoor Co. will stick with its corporate logo because Internet users still place great value on the firm, company officials said Monday, after the scandal-tainted company had considered a name change.

"We think we should face (what happened under) this name and do our utmost," said Takeshi Idezawa, 33, new president of Livedoor Co. "When we asked for opinions from experts, we were told that the popularity of the name is an asset despite the bad image."

Livedoor users would be confused and troubled if the domain of its home page address were to change, Idezawa said at a news conference to mark the start of a new organization centered on a holding firm.

But the company will move out of the Roppongi Hills complex in July to sever its image from convicted founder Takafumi Horie and its past financial shenanigans.

The new office in Shinjuku Ward will also be cheaper for Livedoor to rent. On Monday, the company was reorganized into Livedoor Holdings Co., which will oversee the business of 15 group companies, and Internet portal Livedoor Co., to run the business more efficiently.

Kozo Hiramatsu, who took over the Livedoor presidency when Horie was arrested in January 2006, became president of the holding firm.

The reorganization will allow Livedoor Holdings to concentrate its energy on the pending accounting fraud trial and lawsuits by shareholders seeking compensation for the financial damages they suffered, company officials said.

"I am happy to announce that we, at last, are on a new starting line," Hiramatsu said. "We will continue to reinforce corporate governance so the same incident will never happen again."

Hiramatsu said it is unlikely Livedoor Holdings will be put on a stock exchange in the near future, but he said he hopes to return some of its profits by paying dividends to shareholders in the future.

As for Livedoor's business, the company said its advertisement earnings, which at one point plunged to nearly a third of what they were before the firm's shares plunged with the January 2006 raids by prosecutors, are starting to pick up again.

In March, monthly ad revenue was about 100 million yen, or 70 percent of the amount Livedoor brought in at its peak in December 2005.



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The Japan Times

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