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Japan’s Yahoo, South Korea’s Line to form largest internet platform

Japan’s Yahoo, South Korea’s Line to form largest internet platform

Naver Corp., South Korea’s No. 1 internet portal, said Monday that its Japanese messaging app provider Line Corp. has reached a basic merger deal with internet portal Yahoo Japan Corp., a move that could form Japan’s largest internet platform.

Under the agreement, Line and Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group Corp. ― a holding firm of Z Holdings Corp. that operates Yahoo Japan ― will each hold a 50 percent stake in a new joint venture named Z Holdings, the company said.

The two sides are scheduled to ink a formal contract next month.

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Naver holds a 73 percent stake in Line, and SoftBank owns 45 percent of Yahoo’s parent company Z Holdings.

Naver said the decision for the business integration will bring together the operators of two of Japan’s biggest payment apps amid the “cashless” era.

Line is the most popular chat app in Japan with 80 million users, far ahead of global platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, in Japan.

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