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Yahoo Japan Corp. said Friday it will compensate customers who successfully bid for products auctioned by an Osaka-based jewelry firm that has filed for bankruptcy.

Japan’s biggest Internet portal said the jewelry firm’s bankruptcy has so far left about 300 deals worth about 20 million yen in limbo, leaving bidders without any prospect for receiving the goods or getting their money back.

Yahoo Japan said it has decided to take the special step of compensating all successful bidders because the seller was registered as a company. Products listed by registered firms are seen as more trustworthy compared with products offered by individuals.

Yahoo Japan said it is considering taking legal measures against the jewelry outlet, whose name was not provided, for the losses caused by the compensation.

According to the Internet portal, a female representative of the jewelry firm started listing products on its auction site as an individual in 2002, and then in the name of the company from February 2005.

After it began receiving complaints that the products were not arriving, Yahoo Japan canceled the company’s registration in November, it said.

Yahoo Japan said it repeatedly urged the head of the company to deliver the goods or respond to the reimbursement requests, but that it lost contact with the person last June.

New Softbank-SBI JV

Softbank Corp. and SBI Holdings Inc. said Friday they will form a 50-50 joint venture to operate a new financial data portal.

The deal appears aimed at maintaining friendly relations between the multimedia services provider and investment firm SBI, although they severed capital ties on Aug. 3, when a Softbank subsidiary sold all of its shareholdings in SBI, industry observers say.

The joint venture, which has not yet been named, will be capitalized at 200 million yen and put Softbank President Masayoshi Son and SBI Chief Executive Officer Yoshitaka Kitao on its board.

The date of its founding and the specifics on its business activities will be decided later, according to the two companies.

Softbank presides over a wide array of telecom operations, including broadband, fixed-line and mobile telephone services.

Its group firms also operate in the video and online game businesses.

SBI Holdings is known for its investment expertise in various financial products, including securities, insurance and commodity futures.

The two companies hope to set up a portal that will cover all kinds of financial products and services by combining their business knowhow, a Softbank official said.

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