Ya­hoo Ja­pan to buy eAc­cess from SoftBank for $3.2b

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Ya­hoo Ja­pan Corp agreed to buy eAc­cess Ltd for 324 bil­lion yen ($3.2 bil­lion) from par­ent SoftBank Corp as the na­tion's most-vis­ited Web por­tal ex­pands in wire­less data and voice businesses. Ya­hoo Ja­pan will start a new ser­vice to be called "Y!mo­bile" that shares phone net­works with SoftBank, and the trans­ac­tion will go ahead once eAc­cess com­pletes a merger with Will­com, Ya­hoo Ja­pan said in a state­ment. All three com­pa­nies and SoftBank are con­trolled by bil­lion­aire Masayoshi Son.

SoftBank, which last year paid about $22 bil­lion for con­trol of Sprint Corp in the US, is seek­ing to di­ver­sify as Ja­pan's pop­u­la­tion ages and its home mar­ket shrinks. Son led the ac­qui­si­tion of eAc­cess for 180 bil­lion yen in 2012 to meet de­mand for band­width as smart­phone users surf the Web, watch videos and play games.

"It's mainly win­dow dress­ing," said Amir An­varzadeh, a man­ager of Ja­panese eq­uity sales at BGC Part­ners Inc in Sin­ga­pore. "They've kept it un­der the SoftBank um­brella."

Ya­hoo Ja­pan will pur­chase about 99.7 per cent of eAc­cess stock, which equals about 33.3 per cent of the voting shares, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. In Jan­uary 2013, SoftBank agreed to sell 66.7 per cent of voting rights to 11 com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing a Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics sub­sidiary.

Shares of Ya­hoo Ja­pan fell 2.9 per cent to close at ¥549 in Tokyo on Thurs­day be­fore the an­nounce­ment. The bench­mark Topix in­dex rose 0.4 per cent. SoftBank, founded by Son in Tokyo in 1981 as a whole­saler of pack­aged com­puter soft­ware, has been trans­formed into a full- fledged telecommunication op­er­a­tor via ac­qui­si­tions, in­clud­ing that of the Ja­panese unit of Voda­fone Group Plc.

Son has ex­plored ac­quir­ing TMo­bile US Inc, the fourth- largest Amer­i­can wire­less op­er­a­tor, to com­bine with third-ranked Sprint.

SoftBank has in­vested in more than 1,000 com­pa­nies and holds about a 37 per cent stake in Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, the Chi­nese e-com­merce op­er­a­tor that has been val­ued at as much as $200 bil­lion. Ya­hoo Ja­pan got more than half of last fis­cal year's sales from ad­ver­tis­ing. SoftBank owns 43 per cent and Ya­hoo! Inc. 35 per cent, ac­cord­ing to data. In June, Ya­hoo Ja­pan said it's tar­get­ing a 77 per cent in­crease in earn­ings dur­ing the next six years by ex­pand­ing its e-com­merce busi­ness, where it com­petes with Rakuten, and of­fer­ing more ser­vices for smart­phones and tablet com­put­ers.

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