TOKYO – Yahoo Japan announced on Thursday that it had reached a deal to acquire Japanese online fashion retailer Zozo in a takeover pegged at around $3.7 billion.
Through the transfer agreement – which has been approved by the boards of both companies – Yahoo Japan is set to buy around 154 million shares, or 50.1 percent, of the total capital of Zozo, with a per-share offer price of 2,620 yen ($24.3).
The offer price amounts to a 21 percent premium on the closing price of Zozo shares on Wednesday, according to the joint press release published by the companies.
After the acquisition formalities agreed by the two boards are completed, the transfer would be valued at around 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion).
Japanese tech group Softbank is the biggest shareholder in Yahoo Japan, which had been its joint venture with former internet services giant Yahoo.
The purchase of the popular online retail website Zozotown, launched in 2004 and better known as Zozo, could allow Yahoo Japan to establish a strong presence in the e-commerce market and compete with groups such as Amazon and Japanese firm Rakuten.
Along with details of the transfer, Zozo also announced that its founder and CEO Yusaku Maezawa had stepped down from the company and would be replaced by director Kotaro Sawada.
Maezawa, a 43-year-old Japanese billionaire, is famous for his plan to become the first space tourist to orbit the moon in 2023, onboard a spaceship being developed by Elon Musk’s Space X.
For now, the Zozo founder will keep 36.8 percent of the stake in the company, but he has agreed to include 30.4 percent of this stake in a block of shares to be eventually purchased by Yahoo Japan.
Yahoo Japan said that the takeover process would start in October and continue for an unspecified time, as the deal has to be approved by all parties, including Japanese regulators.
The acquisition was announced before Tokyo stocks opened on Thursday, and led to Zozo shares registering a 13.43 percent jump by the end of the day’s trading, while Yahoo Japan and Softbank shares climbed 2.34 percent and 0.21 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the shares of Zozo’s main rival Rakuten dropped 2.95 percent on Thursday after the news.