SoftBank buys into Line’s mobile service in Japan


SoftBank is partnering up with messaging app Line to help develop its Line Mobile telecom service.

Line announced that it has agreed to allow SoftBank to take a 51 percent in the business via an issuance of new shares. The deal is expected to close by March.

From the documents, its mobile business is valued at around $15 million (1.7 billion JPY) but a company spokesperson told TechCrunch that discussions remain ongoing around the valuation for SoftBank’s investment — in other words: it could be higher. The firm will, however, take a 51 percent stake, the spokesperson confirmed.

It’s certainly an odd relationship given that SoftBank is first and foremost a telecom company itself. This alliance may be a case of the company hedging its bets with a younger, more trendy brand. The market for MVNOs has boomed in Japan after the government relaxed regulations around handsets in early 2017. Rakuten’s MVNO claims to be Japan’s top MVNO with 1.4 million customers. Line does not reveal figures for its service.

Line Mobile’s premise in Japan is simplicity. The service claims to be easy to use, and it allows unlimited data for Line services and prominent social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Line also launched a mobile service in Thailand, one of its major markets, through a partnership with Telenor’s DTAC operator unit.

It’s been a busy day for Line. In addition to its latest earnings report, the company announced plans to add crypto trading and loans/insurance services to its chat app.

The company, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange, said it made a profit of 8.078 billion JPY (approximately $75 million) on total revenue of 167.147 billion JPY, $1.5 billion, in 2017. Those figures are up 19.4 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively.

Line said the number of monthly active users in Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand — its four largest markets — stands at 167.5 million combined. That’s up just one million year-on-year and down slightly on 168 million in the quarter previous. The company doesn’t provide a figure for all users worldwide.

Featured Image: Lee Jin-man/AP

Source link

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Seva snares $2.4M seed investment to find info across cloud services – TechCrunch
Unifonic, dubbed the Twilio of emerging markets, closes $21M Series A round – TechCrunch
Building a great startup requires more than genius and a great invention – TechCrunch
Tech Will Save Us offers STEM toys you’ll actually use – TechCrunch
Call for social media adtech to be probed by UK competition watchdog – TechCrunch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *