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Yahoo won’t buy EAccess

Bloomberg, Staff Report

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

Yahoo Japan and eAccess decided that they did not need to combine businesses and that they could cooperate while developing their operations separately. Yahoo Japan said it will still pursue the Y!mobile service with SoftBank while eAccess builds infrastructure, according to the statement.

“We’ve decided to change the way we cooperate within our group. Employees at Yahoo Japan and eAccess have had many opportunities to have discussions together. . . . We’ve come to think that we can realize what we want to do more speedily by working on it at each firm,” said Yahoo Japan spokeswoman Mana Yasuda.

For instance, eAccess has the technical know-how for building communication network infrastructure, so this can be achieved more efficiently by letting eAccess focus on it, Yasuda said. Yahoo Japan will meanwhile focus on providing services for handset users, she added.

Mitsuru Miyazaki, chief analyst at SMBC Friend Research Center, said that analysts and investors were apparently skeptical about the deal between SoftBank and Yahoo Japan, announced March 27.

“There have been criticisms that the deal would be just a transfer of funds between group companies. I think investors pointed that out (to SoftBank), too. I guess (SoftBank) had no choice but to take that into consideration,” said Miyazaki.

According to the initial plan, Yahoo Japan would purchase eAccess after Willcom merged with eAccess in June. Yahoo Japan had planned to pay SoftBank ¥324 billion for eAccess.

This intragroup deal drew criticism that Yahoo Japan was only being turned into a SoftBank cash machine to finance SoftBank’s bid for T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, so it can increase its presence in the gigantic U.S. market.

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