SoftBank unit Yahoo Japan confirms merger talks with Line

November 14, 2019 10:05
A potential merger deal between Yahoo Japan and Line will bring the messaging app operator under the SoftBank umbrella. Photo: Bloomberg

SoftBank unit Yahoo Japan confirmed that it is in talks to merge with Line Corp, a US$27 billion union that would bring the messaging app operator under the SoftBank umbrella, Reuters reports.

Yahoo Japan, which last month changed its name to Z Holdings, said on Thursday that discussions are underway with Line but nothing had been decided.

SoftBank Corp, which owns almost half of Z Holdings, also acknowledged the talks.

Sources told Reuters earlier that a deal is likely by month-end and could see SoftBank and Line’s parent Naver establish a 50:50 entity that will control Z Holdings, which will in turn operate Line and Yahoo.

Line said in a statement that it is true that it is considering ways to improve its corporate value but nothing had been decided.

A deal would bring together the operators of two of Japan’s biggest QR code payment apps as the country belatedly shifts to cashless payments.

SoftBank’s PayPay recently hit 19 million users through aggressive marketing, while Line Pay can tap the 82 million Japanese users of the Line app, the report noted.

Line, which last year sold a majority stake in its mobile unit to SoftBank, has reported three consecutive quarters of operating losses.

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