Yahoo Japan has apparently moved back on its plan to buy mobile network operator eAccess from SoftBank Corp in what was supposed to be a 324 billion yen (around USD$3.2 billion) deal. Yahoo Japan, still the country’s biggest Internet portal, will now proceed with putting out a low-cost mobile Internet service using the eAccess mobile network, this revealed by both camps on Monday.
The impending of eAccess was set to give SoftBank a welcome boost in funds to continue pursuing its aggressive overseas acquisition strategy. Rumors in the industry say that SoftBank owner Masayoshi Son could be lining up a bid for No.4 U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile to add to its purchase of Sprint Corp. last year. But changes in the deal meant that SoftBank would be allowing eAccess to operate as a separate entity, operating its own network infrastructure. It was decided that Yahoo Japan would instead offer services via the eAccess network. Softbank, while seemingly losing out on this deal, still stands to reap a pretty hefty windfall from the New York listing of Chinese e-commerce outfit Alibaba group, China’s leading online sales company – in which SoftBank owns a majority stake.
Yahoo Japan President Manabu Miyasaka had targeted to control its own handsets and network in March, hence the plan to buy eAccess and potentially adding 10 million mobile users to its already huge user base. But industry analysts questioned the need for the Internet company to take over operation of a wireless network from a member of the same group – as Yahoo is also partly owned by SoftBank. With SoftBank, Son is aiming for the group of companies he owns to become the world’s leading mobile Internet company.
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