By Peter Landers and Takashi Mochizuki
TOKYO — Two of Japan’s internet leaders — news and shopping site Yahoo Japan and chat app Line — are in talks over a combination that could expand SoftBank Group Corp.’s empire, the companies said Thursday.
If completed, the deal could give SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +2.63% and its acquisitive chief executive, Masayoshi Son, a bigger presence in internet advertising and payment apps in Japan. SoftBank effectively controls Yahoo Japan through subsidiaries.
A person involved in the talks said SoftBank ultimately hoped to gain control of Line Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209615106/composite LN +1.18% /zigman2/quotes/205382025/delayed JP:3938 +1.83% through the deal, but he said the sides were still discussing several deal structures.
Yahoo Japan’s parent, Z Holdings Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207641152/delayed JP:4689 +1.36% , and Line issued statements Thursday confirming reports of the talks but saying nothing has been decided. Z Holdings shares rose 17% in early Tokyo trading Thursday.
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