Artificial intelligence

A private LINE between Naver and Softbank

Softbank and Naver plan to take messaging app LINE private. This will not only lead to improved R&D spend, it will also unlock value for the majority shareholders.

Amid a competitive landscape dominated by tech giants from the US and China, two well-known Asian companies are looking to consolidate their resources to become the next leader in AI technology.

Japanese investment conglomerate Softbank and South Korean internet giant Naver Corporation have agreed to form an equally owned joint venture to take messaging company LINE private. The consolidation is part of a multi-step transaction that also involves Z Holding Corporation, a Softbank subsidiary formerly known as Yahoo Japan.

The joint venture will privatise LINE at 5,200 $36.85 a share, a 16% premium to its 100-day share price average. Softbank will then move Z Holdings into the...

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