Electronics giant Sony Corporation is no longer considering taking a significant equity stake in leading Japanese commercial network Fuji Television Network, the companies announced on Friday.

Hisashi Hieda, the president of Fuji Television Network, added that Sony is not the only investment partner Fuji is considering, but declined to name names. Local reports said last month that Sony was in final negotiations with Fuji TV to take a 10% stake in the network.

According to the reports, Sony aimed to join with Fuji TV in developing interactive TV services for digital terrestrial broadcasts scheduled to launch in 2003.

But the downside of the deal was that, by strengthening its ties with Fuji, Sony might alienate the other commercial networks that were major customers for its broadcasting equipment.

In reaction to Hieda's comments, a Sony official said that, although Sony is still interested in co-operating with Fuji TV, primarily in the areas of software and technology for digital terrestrial broadcasts, "the relationship will be an informal one" for the time being.

Sony is still considering the possibility of investing in the network, but is reportedly reluctant to spend the $1.64 billion (Y170 billion) required to obtain a 10% share.

Last spring Sony was reported as interested in buying the Fuji TV shares of Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, a radio broadcaster that is the network's second-largest shareholder, but negotiations have since stalled.