SoftBank Corp announced today that they have reached an agreement to merge with Z Holdings (SoftBank subsidiary formerly known as Yahoo Japan) and Line Corp, in a move they hope will better position them against competitors. The merger, first reported by Nikkei last week, is expected to be completed by October 2020.
SoftBank and Naver, the owner of Line, will each own 50% of a new holding company to operate Line and Z Holdings . By uniting, SoftBank and Naver hope they will better position the Yahoo Japan search portal, Lines messaging app and their other businesses to compete against competitors from the US and China.
In its announcement, SoftBank said "in the Internet market, foreign companies, especially those based in the US and China, are overwhelmingly dominant, and even when comparing the size of the business, there is currently a big difference between such foreign companies and those in other Asian countries, other than China. ”[1[ads1]9659002] Line is one of the most popular messaging apps in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, but has struggled to compete in other markets, despite offering a wide range of services which includes Line Pay, Line Taxi and Line Music. Yahoo Japan is one of the country's largest search engines, but it competes with Google and its other businesses, including e-commerce, up against competitors like Rakuten and Alibaba.
When merged, says SoftBank and Naver's collaboration between its subsidiaries and investment portfolio companies will enable them to make more progress in artificial intelligence and other areas, including search, advertising ame and payment and financial services.
The merger will involve taking Line private by acquiring all outstanding Line shares, options and convertible bonds. The offer for Line's remaining shares will be 5,200 yen, a premium of 13.41% above the closing price of Line's common shares, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, November 13, before any potential merger reports.