TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Corp plans to merge internet subsidiary Yahoo Japan with messaging app operator Line Corp to create a $30 billion tech group, as it strives to compete more effectively with local rival Rakuten and U.S. tech powerhouses.
The deal, which would combine the providers of two of Japan’s top QR code payment services, offers Yahoo Japan access to 164 million Line users and their data in Japan and Southeast Asia as SoftBank expands into services outside its core wireless business.
It also gives loss-making Line a deep-pocketed patron who can offer its tech expertise, including potentially via the Vision Fund.
The deal comes as SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son battles to restore his reputation after an ill-fated investment in office-sharing firm WeWork.
Telecoms firm SoftBank Corp said Yahoo Japan, which last month changed its name to Z Holdings Corp, would aim to complete its merger with Line, owned by South Korea’s Naver Corp, in October 2020.
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