SoftBank raises stake in Yahoo Japan through purchase from Altaba

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese Internet company SoftBank Corp is investing about USD2 billion to raise its stake in Yahoo Japan through an acquisition from US investment company Altaba Inc.

SoftBank has been boosting its collaboration with Yahoo Japan, a search-engine company, to strengthen its e-commerce, smartphone services and other businesses.

The deal, announced yesterday in a statement from Softbank, will raise its stake in Yahoo Japan to 48 per cent from about 43 per cent. The three-way transaction between Altaba, SoftBank and Yahoo Japan will cut the stake of Altaba, which was formerly known as Yahoo, to 27 per cent.

SoftBank, a leading Japanese telecommunications company, has financial-technology, ride-booking services, solar energy and the Pepper human-shaped companion robot among its widespread businesses.

It also owns British semiconductor company ARM, an innovator in the “Internet of things”, and a Japanese baseball team, the Softbank Hawks.

People walk under the logo of Japanese Internet company SoftBank Corp at its mobile phone shop in Tokyo. – AP

“I have strong confidence in the future performance of Yahoo Japan, and I’m excited about the significant synergies,” SoftBank Group Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said.

Yahoo Japan is one of the most popular search engines in Japan. It offers online auctioning, film listings and the news.

Altaba was ordered earlier this year to pay a USD35 million fine to resolve federal regulators’ charges the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history.

The company changed its name to Altaba after its e-mail and other digital services were sold to Verizon Communications for USD4.48 billion last year. Personal data was stolen from hundreds of millions of US Yahoo users in a December 2014 breach attributed to Russian hackers.