Embattled Livedoor chief gets support

Japanese internet company Livedoor Co may have helped knock off $300 billion of shareholder value in Tokyo's stock market this week, but the company's flamboyant president still has his fans.

    Horie wrote that he had cried upon reading the messages

    As prosecutors searched his company on suspicions of

    spreading false information to investors, high-profile "T-shirt

    CEO" Takafumi Horie was flooded with words of support on his

    blog.

    His latest online journal entry on Tuesday had drawn over 2800 responses

    by Thursday.

    Some asked about the 33-year-old's health and whether

    he was getting enough sleep. Others promised not to sell their

    shares in his company, which plunged on news of the raid.

    "Take care of yourself and good luck. I won't sell my shares.

    I'm on your side no matter what anyone says," one said.

    "I had my doubts after all the news, but I bought some of

    your shares today," said another, posted on Wednesday.

    "Everyone said I was stupid, but I don't care."

    Horie wrote he had cried upon reading the messages, which he

    had to transfer to a new computer because his old one had been

    confiscated.

    Large following

    He promised to continue refreshing the site, which not only

    keeps readers updated on his company, but also on his personal

    life.

    "I had my doubts after all the news, but I bought some of

    your shares today.

    Everyone said I was stupid, but I don't care"

    Supporter's posting on Takafumi Horie's blog

    Just hours before prosecutors stepped in to search his

    company, he had posted a photo of the tomato soup he had for lunch

    and had written about a song on his upcoming CD, which now

    appears to have been shelved.

    While much of corporate Japan has scorned Horie's aggressive

    acquisition strategy, he has had a large following among younger

    Japanese who see him as a crusader out to shake up Japan's stodgy

    business world.

    Livedoor's shares have grown more than 100 times in value

    since its predecessor, Livin' on the Edge Co, went public in

    April 2000.

    Some comments - although few - were critical of Horie.

    "Idiot! Hurry up and get yourself arrested. Pay for the

    market's losses and never come on TV again," one said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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