Yahoo Japan Corp. has pushed out the chief executive officer at partner Askul Corp., intensifying a public dispute between two of Japan’s major internet companies.
Investors in Askul, led by Yahoo Japan, rejected the reappointment of CEO Shoichiro Iwata and three independent directors at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Friday. Iwata had been in open dispute with the larger company and said he would push Yahoo Japan to sell its stake in his company.
The clash, rare in corporate Japan, flared last month after Askul accused Yahoo Japan of violating the spirit of their agreement and the smaller company’s independence by demanding the sale of internet mail-order business Lohaco. Iwata tried to line up at least four potential bidders to buy out Yahoo Japan’s 45 percent stake.
Yahoo Japan, backed by SoftBank Group Corp., has responded by pressing for Iwata’s ouster because of dissatisfaction with the company’s deteriorating business. Yahoo Japan has said it has no intention of off-loading its stake in Askul, which has a market value of ¥154 billion ($1.4 billion).