SoftBank-backed Yahoo set to merge with Naver’s Line

A neon sign is displayed inside Line Corp.'s research and development facility in Kyoto, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The Japanese operators of the Yahoo search engine and popular messaging app Line are set to merge, creating an e-commerce giant spanning finance, retail and other internet services, Nikkei has learned.

The Yahoo Japan search and news website is operated by Z Holdings.

SoftBank, a Japanese telecom carrier, owns over 40% of Z Holdings, while Line is owned more than 70% by Naver, a South Korean web portal.

The two companies plan to reach an agreement on the merger by the end of the month.

Details of the deal are still being negotiated. One outcome has for SoftBank and Naver to set up a 50-50 joint venture, which will own Z Holdings operating both Yahoo and Line as wholly owned subsidiaries.

Line is Japan’s largest messaging service with 80 million users while Yahoo’s e-commerce and other internet services have 50 million users.

The new company will have a combined user base totaling 100 million people, becoming the dominant mobile payment service provider in Japan and vying with Asian super-app operators such as China’s Alipay, Singapore’s Grab and Indonesia’s Gojek.

This article was first published on Nikkei Asian Review

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.