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Mixi Rises on Report DeNA, Gree May Bid on Stake: Tokyo Mover

Mixi Inc. rose the most in nine months in Tokyo trading after Nikkei Business said DeNA Co. and Gree Inc., Japan’s two biggest social game companies, will probably be among bidders for a stake in the social network.

Mixi gained as much as 11 percent, the most since Aug. 17, to 175,000 yen and traded at 165,800 yen at the 11:30 a.m. break on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. President Kenji Kasahara is seeking to sell his 55 percent stake, Nikkei Business magazine reported, citing an unidentified financial-industry official. The report “isn’t factual,” Mixi said in a statement on its website.

Mixi, which pioneered social networking on the Web in Japan, has lost about 92 percent of its market value since December 2007 as competitors Facebook Inc., DeNA and Gree, which also offer games on their sites, lured away customers. Mixi expanded its partnership with Twitter Inc. in November to add more services.

“There are hopes among some investors that Mixi may get a premium when it’s sold,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, a market analyst at Tokyo-based Iwai Cosmo Securities Co.

Tomoyuki Akiyama, a spokesman for DeNA, and Shinichi Iriyama, a spokesman for Gree, also denied the Nikkei report in phone interviews.

DeNA dropped 4.6 percent and Gree lost 5.4 percent.

Kasahara, Mixi’s founder, plans to sell part of his stake at first and the rest later, according to the Nikkei report carried on its website.

Facebook had 13.5 million unique users in Japan in February, up from 6 million a year earlier, according to data from Nielsen. That put the Menlo Park, California-based company ahead of Twitter and Mixi in Japan for the first time.

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