Yahoo Japan Agrees to Buy Travel Site Ikyu for $830 Million

Yahoo Japan Agrees to Buy Travel Site Ikyu
  • Ikyu President Mori agrees to sell his 41% stake in tender
  • Acquired company to become wholly owned subsidiary of parent

Yahoo Japan Corp. agreed to acquire Ikyu Corp. for as much as 100.2 billion yen ($830 million), cutting its biggest-ever deal to bolster its online travel and dining businesses.

Yahoo Japan is offering 3,433 yen per share, or 42 percent more than Tuesday’s closing price. Ikyu shares were untraded and poised to surge in Tokyo trading, while Yahoo Japan was little changed at 9:57 a.m. A tender offer for Ikyu shares will be made from Dec. 16 until Feb. 3, it said.

The deal is Yahoo Japan’s second since Nikesh Arora, also president of controlling shareholder SoftBank Group Corp., was named chairman in June. Japan’s most-visited Web portal has been diversifying this year by investing in companies including a venture with BuzzFeed Inc. and Sony Corp.’s real estate unit.

Ikyu.com will allow Yahoo Japan to cover a broader range of online travel and restaurant services, analysts at Jefferies Japan Ltd., led by Hiroko Sato, wrote in a research report. There is “huge potential” for online restaurant bookings since only 1 percent to 2 percent of reservations are now made that way in Japan, they wrote.

Yahoo Japan has been operating its own Yahoo! Travel service since 1997, and the company announced a revamp of the service in February to operate lodging reservations directly.

Ikyu President Masafumi Mori has agreed to sell his 41 percent stake, while Mori Trust, the second-largest holder, will also sell its stake, according to Yahoo Japan.

Yahoo! Inc., the Japanese portal’s second-largest investor, has said it plans to spin off its 35.5 percent stake along with other assets. Yahoo Japan shares have gained 14 percent this year.

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