SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son wants to combine his Yahoo Japan internet business with Line to create a national champion, with the goal of competing more effectively against global giants like Google and Tencent Holdings Ltd. The combined company aims to spend 100 billion yen ($950 million) annually on development of AI-powered products.
As they announced the proposed deal last November, the two companies said the combination is driven by a sense of crisis that global giants are increasing their grip on the technology industry and countries like Japan risk falling behind. Together, Line and Yahoo Japan, which operates as Z Holdings Corp., will be able to share engineering resources, access broader sets of data and invest more in areas like artificial intelligence, the chief executive officers said at the time.
SoftBank Corp., the domestic wireless unit of Son’s empire, said 31.2 million shares, including 1.09 million share certificates, were tendered in the joint bid with Naver. They had said it could purchase up to 88.3 million shares.
Line shares are little changed for the year at 5,370 yen.