He is popularly known as Horiemon, a name also given—and chosen by popular demand via voting on a Livedoor website—to a racehorse he owns.
He started college as a student in the Department of Literature at the University of Tokyo and was going to major in religion, but dropped out after establishing a website-development company called Livin' on the Edge in 1995 with friends and classmates.
Horie is criticized by conservative Japanese business circles for his unconventional methods—everything from his practice of corporate expansion through acquisitions to his informal attire. In a country where neckties are the norm for businessmen, he is frequently seen wearing t-shirts or unbuttoned collared shirts. In these circumstances, the media have taken to demonizing him on the one hand because of his challenges to the status quo, while on the other trying to capitalize on the entertainment value he offers with his non-conformist business attitude and life style.
In 2005, Horie quietly bought a large number of shares in Fuji Television and attempted a hostile takeover. Since Japan has few laws governing defensive procedures for takeover targets, a compromise was arranged in which he was made a joint director of Fuji Television, and Japan has since hastily introduced M&A laws based on those of the United States.
In 2005, Horie unveiled a plan for a space tourism business at the 56th International Astronautical Congress in Fukuoka. The spacecraft he planned to develop was based on the design of a Russian TKS spacecraft. Horie said he planned to invest in space development and that he wanted to launch a manned rocket within five years; the project was called "Japan Space Dream — A Takafumi Horie Project."
The veracity of the suspicions aside, given the timing and many recent events, many smelled conspiracy and saw the action as a political move by defenders of the status quo to punish Horie for daring to take them on, as well as to discredit him and the business practices he has come to represent, which Horie's opponents consider distasteful and "un-Japanese.
On January 23, 2006, Horie was arrested by Tokyo district public prosecutors, and on January 24 he announced his resignation as CEO. On April 27, 2006, he was released on ¥300 million bail on condition that he refrain from contact with livedoor or any of its employees. Horie says he does not intend to get involved in the company's management at present or in the future. Though indicted on charges of fabricating financial reports and spreading false information to investors, he continues to assert his innocence.
Horie's net worth is estimated to have fallen from $1.3 billion in December 2005 to $280 million in June 2006.