Yahoo Japan-Askul dispute escalates as CEO of online retailer seeks to force stake sale

Yahoo Japan-Askul dispute escalates as CEO of online retailer seeks to force stake sale

Yahoo Japan Corp. employees speak to a customer in front of the company's logo at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Yahoo Japan, operator of the country's most-visited Web portal, targets at least 10 percent gain in revenue from advertisement this fiscal year on corporate demand, as the economy shows signs of improvement. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Askul Corp. plans to exercise its right to demand Yahoo Japan Corp. sell its 45% stake, escalating a public dispute between two major Japanese internet companies.

Chief Executive Officer Shoichiro Iwata said he intends to propose the move at a board meeting scheduled for Aug 1. Whether the online retailer can force a sale hinges on the interpretation of an agreement struck when Yahoo Japan, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp., first invested in Askul.

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