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Japan’s Self-Made Maverick

2 minute read

April, 1996 At 23, Horie launches Livin’ on the Edge, a Web consultancy. He soon drops out of college, later remarking: “Didn’t Bill Gates drop out of Harvard?”

April, 2000 His firm is listed on Mothers, Tokyo’s stock market for start-ups. He later uses funds from the listing to buy Livedoor, an Internet services provider. Livedoor goes on to make dozens of acquisitions of other firms.

June, 2004 Horie grabs the spotlight with an offer to bail out a debt-ridden baseball team, the Kintetsu Buffaloes. Team owners reject his bid. “They’re smug,” says Horie.

January, 2005 Horie adds to his rebel reputation with a hostile takeover bid for Nippon Broadcasting, the radio arm of Fuji TV, Japan’s largest commercial station. The clash is resolved after Livedoor agrees to sell the Nippon stock it had amassed, while Fuji agrees to invest in Livedoor.

August, 2005 Prime Minister Koizumi taps Horie as an “assassin” to run for office against one of Koizumi’s toughest critics. Horie loses by 13%.

October 15, 2005 Horie joins an effort to start a space-tourism business that proposes to launch customers into orbit in cramped Russian-made capsules.

January 16, 2006 Investigators raid Livedoor’s headquarters and Horie’s apartment, seeking evidence of securities fraud.

January 18, 2006 A flood of orders to sell Livedoor stock forces the Tokyo Exchange to close 20 minutes early for the first time in its history.

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