The operator of Yahoo Japan online services and messaging app provider Line Corp. said Monday they will postpone their merger to March of next year due to the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Z Holdings Corp. and Line said the pandemic has caused a delay in antitrust screenings in some countries after the two sides announced in November that they would merge in October this year in a bid to compete with global tech firms such as Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

SoftBank Corp., which has a 44.6 percent stake in Z Holdings, and Naver Corp., Line's South Korean parent, will start a tender offer for Line shares on Tuesday as part of their merger procedures, they said.

The four companies also said they have agreed on a tie-up to promote cooperation within them and jointly strengthen their technological development after winning approvals from antitrust authorities on their merger plan.