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.