Rakuten Inc. reported Friday that its group net profit rose 37.1 percent to 7.1 billion yen in the first half of the year, thanks to strong sales at its online brokerage.

Rakuten posted an operating profit of 19.3 billion yen in the January-June period, up 77.7 percent from the same period last year, on sales of 105.3 billion yen, which jumped threefold.

Rakuten also said its pretax profit rose 81.8 percent to 20.9 billion yen.

The two main pillars of Rakuten’s business, e-commerce and the online brokerage, accounted for most of the company’s group operating profit, the company said.

Rakuten’s core e-commerce business posted an operating profit of 8 billion yen on sales of 25.7 billion yen, while the brokerage division raked in 10.9 billion yen in operating profit.

Rakuten President Hiroshi Mikitani said the company is still negotiating with Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. over a possible business tieup. The talks have been stalled since November.

Rakuten has been pushing for an alliance with TBS after its bid to merge with the broadcaster failed in November.

Rakuten increased its stake in TBS last year without informing it, which angered the broadcaster. The two set up a committee to examine tieup talks, but they have apparently made no progress.

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