Yahoo Japan plans $3.2B eAccess buy from SoftBank

Yahoo Japan, partly owned by SoftBank and Yahoo, plans to use the acquisition to launch its own mobile Internet service.

Yahoo Japan has agreed to acquire mobile Internet service provider (ISP) eAccess from SoftBank to launch its own mobile Internet service.

Yahoo Japan announced the news on Thursday, saying it will pay 324 billion yen (about $3.2 billion) to acquire eAccess from SoftBank. The move is somewhat convoluted, as SoftBank owns roughly 42 percent of Yahoo Japan. The US-based Yahoo owns approximately 35 percent of Yahoo Japan.

In order for Yahoo Japan to complete the deal, the company is requiring that eAccess merge with Willcom, a firm also owned by SoftBank that offers wireless services.

At first glance, Yahoo Japan, a Web portal in that country, may not appear to be a suitable owner for an Internet and wireless provider, but the company sees it a different way. In presentation slides announcing the deal, Yahoo Japan argues that the combined eAccess and Willcom will allow it "to provide Internet services to everyone's hand with [a] simple pricing plan." The service, dubbed Y!mobile, aims to attract 20 million subscribers in Japan.

As long as the eAccess-Willcom merger is completed, Yahoo Japan hopes to close its deal in the beginning of June.

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