SoftBank's Son seeks Alibaba-size scale with Yahoo-Line deal
Nikkei -- Nov 14
Undeterred by a huge loss on U.S. office-sharing platform WeWork, SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son has set his sights on a new big plan: building a sweeping online ecosystem akin to China's Alibaba Group Holding.

Z Holdings, the SoftBank-owned parent of Yahoo Japan, and South Korea's Naver, which owns the popular chat app Line, are in final negotiations to bring the two internet companies under a single umbrella, Nikkei has learned.

The combination, which will boast more than 100 million users in Japan alone, is expected to become a SoftBank consolidated subsidiary.

Son has long been interested in Line, the country's leading chat app. "He must have been searching for an opportunity for a capital partnership this whole time," a source familiar with the matter said. SoftBank and Z Holdings are believed to have approached Line's parent Naver on the possibility of a tie-up.

"Mr. Son is trying to create a Japanese version of Alibaba, with Yahoo at its core," a SoftBank executive said. Alibaba was SoftBank's largest investment and is considered Son's biggest success so far. The company has since expanded beyond its e-commerce roots into a variety of fields, including its Alipay digital wallet, with over 1 billion users.

News source: Nikkei
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