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Yahoo Japan Falls as Goldman Sachs Reiterates Sell Rating

Yahoo Japan Corp., operator of the country’s most-visited web portal, fell the most in more than six weeks in Tokyo trading after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated its sell rating on the shares.

Yahoo Japan declined 2.8 percent, the most since Feb. 15, to 25,890 yen as of the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.6 percent.

The company’s dominance may wane as more consumers use smartphones to surf the Internet instead of personal computers, decreasing the importance of portal sites, Takayoshi Koike and Masaru Sugiyama, Tokyo-based analysts at Goldman Sachs, said in a report yesterday. Yahoo Japan also fell as Yahoo! Inc. shareholder Third Point LLC unveiled a website that calls for changes at the U.S. Internet company.

“The Goldman report triggered the drop today,” Mitsuo Shimizu, a Tokyo-based analyst at Cosmo Securities Co., said by phone today. “The dispute in the U.S. also discourages Yahoo Japan investors as it may affect its disposal talks.”

Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo is in talks to dispose of its stake of about 34.7 percent in Yahoo Japan, a joint venture with Softbank Corp., the companies have said.

Third Point, the owner of about 5.8 percent of Yahoo Inc., announced plans last month to seek shareholder votes on a proposed slate of four Yahoo directors. The company has unveiled a website that includes a blog, biographies of director nominees and a critique of Yahoo’s past mistakes.

Yahoo Japan, whose profit has increased every fiscal year since it was founded in 1996, plans to accelerate development of mobile-device applications as the number of smartphone users rises, Manabu Miyasaka, who became chief executive officer April 1, said last week.

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