SoftBank Corp has announced plans to merge internet subsidiary Yahoo Japan with Korean messaging app operator Line Corp to create a $30 billion tech group, as it strives to compete more effectively with local rival Rakuten and U.S. tech powerhouses.

The list of law firms acting on the deal make up a who’s who of Japanese and international names. Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are advising SoftBank, while Latham & Watkins and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto Corp are counselling Yahoo Japan, which is now known as Z Holdings Corp.

Meanwhile, Line is being represented by Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Shearman & Sterling , while its parent, South Korea’s Naver Corp, is being advised by Nishimura & Asahi, Kim & Chang, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

According to Reuters, this deal, which would combine two of Japan’s top QR code payment services, could create a $30 billion tech group. The deal also offers Yahoo Japan access to 164 million Line users and their data in Japan and Southeast Asia as SoftBank expands into services outside its core wireless business. The merger is expected to close in October 2020.

The Latham & Watkins team was led by partner Ivan Smallwood.


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