Japan Telecom Co. and its British parent Vodafone Group PLC on Friday announced that their four J-Phone cellular group companies will merge Nov. 1.

The move is intended to increase leverage against market leader NTT DoCoMo Inc.

Announcing the details of the planned merger, Japan Telecom officials said that the company aims to streamline its complex capital relationship involving Vodafone and the J-Phone group to restructure and improve the management efficiency of its mobile phone operations.

The plan calls for three regional operators — J-Phone East Co., J-Phone West Co. and J-Phone Central Co. — to merge into the holding company J-Phone Communications Co., which will be renamed J-Phone Co.

The new company will be the nation’s third largest cellular operator, and will be capitalized at 26.79 billion yen.

Vodafone will hold a 39.67 percent stake in the new company, making it the second largest shareholder following Japan Telecom with 45.05 percent.

Currently Vodafone, which holds a 45 percent stake in Japan Telecom, owns 46 percent in J-Phone Communications, 17.79 percent in J-Phone East, 19.73 percent in J-Phone West and 16.8 percent in J-Phone Central.

Goichi Yoshizawa, currently vice president of J-Phone Communications, will become executive chairman and chief executive officer of the new company, while Darryl Green, currently president at Global Crossing Japan K.K., will become president and chief operating officer.

Koichi Sakata, current president at J-Phone Communications and chairman at Japan Telecom, will be nonexecutive chairman at the new cellular company.

The merger decision and appointments of new executives are expected to be approved at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting scheduled for Sept. 10.

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