Date
20 September 2019
Zozo’s founder Yusaku Maezawa will step down as CEO after selling most of his stake in the firm to Yahoo Japan. Photo: Reuters
Zozo’s founder Yusaku Maezawa will step down as CEO after selling most of his stake in the firm to Yahoo Japan. Photo: Reuters

Yahoo Japan to buy control of online fashion retailer Zozo

Yahoo Japan said on Thursday that it aims to buy 50.1 percent stake in online fashion retailer Zozo for about 400 billion yen (US$3.7 billion), Reuters reports.

Zozo founder Yusaku Maezawa will sell around 30 percent of the retailer in a tender offer to Yahoo Japan, leaving him with a stake of about 6 percent, and step down as CEO of the company, according to the report.

Yahoo Japan’s offer price of 2,620 yen per share represents a premium of around 21 percent compared to Zoro’s Wednesday closing price.

Zozo has a market value of around 680 billion yen, according to Refinitiv data. The deal would give Maezawa a windfall or around US$2.3 billion.

“I will entrust Zozo to a new president and take my own path,” Maezawa said in a Twitter post.

The planned deal comes as Maezawa’s firm, which runs the Zozotown online mall, has been struggling.

In the last financial year it booked its first annual drop in earnings due to a failed experiment with bespoke tailoring and clashes with fashion brands over discounting, the report noted.

Yahoo Japan is a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank Corp, which in turn is controlled by tech conglomerate SoftBank Group.

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