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Yahoo Japan Cancels Plan to Acquire EAccess From SoftBank

Yahoo Japan Corp.
The Yahoo Japan Corp. portal site. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Yahoo Japan Corp., the nation’s largest Internet portal, canceled plans to acquire eAccess Ltd. from SoftBank Corp. for 324 billion yen ($3.2 billion) as part of a strategy to expand in wireless data and voice businesses.

Yahoo Japan and eAccess decided they didn’t need to combine businesses and that they could cooperate while developing their operations separately. Yahoo Japan says it will still pursue the “Y!mobile” service with SoftBank while eAccess builds infrastructure, according to the statement.

Analysts had raised questions about the cost of the deal when it was first announced March 27 and whether the price was appropriate given that all three companies are controlled by Masayoshi Son. The original deal called for Yahoo Japan to pay 80 percent more in cash for eAccess than the 180 billion yen SoftBank paid for the assets at the end of 2012.

“It looks like Yahoo Japan is finally standing up to its top shareholder and has refused to take on the minority stake in eAccess from SoftBank,” Amir Anvarzadeh, manager of Japanese equity sales in Singapore at BGC Partners Inc. said in an e-mail.

The cancellation of the sale would have minimal impact, SoftBank said in a statement. The phone company said it won’t book a 55.7 billion yen gain on the sale that it had planned to record on a parent basis this fiscal year.

Yahoo Japan declined 2.8 percent to close at 411 yen in Tokyo trading before the statement was released. The stock has slumped 30 percent this year, compared with a 12 percent drop in the broader Topix index. The shares plunged by 6.4 percent to the lowest level in more than three months on March 28, the day after Yahoo Japan said it had agreed to buy eAccess.

SoftBank, which last year paid about $22 billion for control of Sprint Corp. in the U.S., is seeking to diversify as Japan’s population ages and its home market shrinks.

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