SoftBank to pay ¥178.5 billion for licensing rights of Yahoo in Japan

Yahoo Japan will no longer have to pay royalties to Verizon Media for using Yahoo's branding and licensed technologies.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

The SoftBank-owned Z Holdings has agreed to take the licensing rights of Yahoo in Japan from Verizon Media's hands for ¥178.5 billion.

The agreement comes shortly after Verizon announced it was selling its media arm for $5 billion to private equity firm Apollo Global, which includes AOL and Yahoo. 

While Yahoo has struggled to stay relevant in Western markets, the brand is a core part of Z Holdings, which owns SoftBank's various internet businesses in Japan and earned pre-tax profit of ¥848 billion in the past fiscal year.

Z Holdings, a joint venture between Softbank and Naver, is the parent company of internet businesses Yahoo Japan, Yahoo Shopping, ZOZO, Japan Net Bank, and messaging platform Line. Despite owning Yahoo Japan, the company had to pay ongoing royalties to Verizon Media in order to use Yahoo's brand, licensed technologies, and other licensed materials.

With the ¥178.5 billion deal, Z Holdings will acquire the trademark rights related to Yahoo and Yahoo Japan in Japan, paid-up perpetual right to use existing licensed technology in Japan, as well as Yahoo branding and technology in Japan.

The transaction will be finalised when the Apollo-Verizon Media is officially processed, Z Holdings said in a statement.

Z Holdings added Yahoo Japan and Verizon Media would continue to retain their cooperative business and technology relationship post-transaction.

For the 2020 fiscal year, SoftBank reported net profit of ¥4.99 trillion, which was a sharp turnaround from the ¥961 billion loss it recorded in 2019.

The primary reason for SoftBank's turnaround was the ¥4.03 trillion profit from its Vision Fund unit, which was a ¥5.4 trillion improvement from FY2019 when the Vision Fund unit lost ¥1.4 trillion due to various investments across consumer, real estate, and transportation underperforming that year.

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