ITOCHU Acquires 20% Share of NTT Plala Inc. Stock, and Launches TV Broadcasting Business Via IP

March 2, 2009

ITOCHU Corporation will acquire 20% of all issued shares of NTT Plala Inc., (Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo; President&CEO: Koji Bando), which provides Hikari TV, a broadcasting service, and will enter the business of TV broadcasting via IP (“IPTV business”).

ITOCHU is acquiring 3.5 billion yen of NTT Plala's 5.5 billion-yen private placement and raising its capital share from 10% to 20% to assist the company as its equity method affiliated company to further expand its business, primarily in Hikari TV's broadcasting service.

NTT Plala began with Plala, an Internet service provider, and now offers broadband services such as IP phone and IPTV. Its IPTV business consisted of broadcasting businesses that were individually operated by companies in the NTT Communications Group and that were merged in March 2008, and it now offers Hikari TV as an NTT Group broadcasting service.

Through this acquisition, ITOCHU will assist NTT Plala in various areas and help the company develop further. Particularly in the field of broadcasting, ITOCHU will capitalize on the knowledge it has gained through past experience, and will actively help the company expand its services.

ITOCHU has developed its broadcasting business through SkyPerfect TV (satellite broadcasting), Space Shower TV (music channel) and STAR Channel (movie channel). We expect the market for broadcasting services to continue to grow, and ITOCHU will develop this area further to achieve the number one position in the field.

Company profile of NTT Plala (after capital increase)

Name of company NTT Plala Inc.
Head Office 24F Sunshine 60, 3-1-1 Ikebukuro, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Representative Koji Bando, President&CEO
Established December 18, 1995
Capital 12.321 billion yen
Number of employees 240

Summary of Hikari TV service

A TV broadcasting service, compatible with Flet's Hikari Next (NTT East & West), B Flet's (NTT East), and Flet's Hikari Premium and B Flet's (requiring registration for Flet's v6 application; NTT West). Subscribers can view the video on demand titles and multi-channel broadcasts of their choice whenever they wish with simple operation of the remote control. Its VOD service consists of more than 10,000 titles in a variety of genres including film, foreign drama, sports and animation, and offers unlimited viewing of approximately 5,000 titles—an industry-leading figure. Its multi-channel service features a total of 76 channels, including 43 popular channels with exclusive content that are available for unlimited viewing.
It has commenced IP redistribution of terrestrial digital broadcasting in some areas.