Yahoo Japan says it aims to buy Zozo for $3.7 billion


FILE PHOTO : A website of Yahoo Japan Corp is seen on a computer screen at a Yahoo! Cafe, a free internet cafe by Yahoo Japan Corp, in Tokyo August 19, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Yahoo Japan Corp said on Thursday it aims to buy 50.1% online fashion retailer Zozo Inc for about 400 billion yen ($3.70 billion), as it looks to better compete in e-commerce against rivals such as Amazon.com Inc and Rakuten Inc.

Zozo founder Yusaku Maezawa will sell around 30% of his 37% stake in a tender offer to Yahoo Japan and step down as CEO of the company, which has struggled following a series of botched initiatives by the flamboyant billionaire. Zozo has a market value of around 680 billion yen, according to Refinitiv data.

“I will entrust Zozo to a new president and take my own path,” Maezawa said in a Twitter post.

The entrepreneur has generated attention for his flashy lifestyle, including paying $110 million for a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting and signing up as the first private passenger to be taken around the moon by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

However, Maezawa has recently sold part of his extensive art collection, saying he has no money.

His company, which runs the Zozotown online mall, has been struggling. In the last financial year it booked its first annual drop in earnings due to a failed experiment with bespoke tailoring and clashes with fashion brands over discounting.

Yahoo Japan is a consolidated subsidiary of telco SoftBank Corp, which in turn is controlled by tech conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Sam Nussey; Editing by Sandra Maler and Christopher Cushing



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