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 -0.72% 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. 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 -0.33% , 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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