SoftBank is acquiring a majority stake in LINE MOBILE, a subsidiary of Line Corporation, which owns and operates the messaging app LINE.
LINE MOBILE announced the partnership, allowing SoftBank to take a 51 percent in the company through “a third-party allocation of new shares.” The deal is planned to close by March 2018.
Launched in 2016, LINE MOBILE provides internet connection services, a electronic telecommunication business, internet phone-calling and other telecommunication-related services. Consumers can use as much data as they want — without counting toward their data limit — for major social networks such as LINE, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as LINE’s own music service.
According to the company, LINE MOBILE boasts 91 percent user satisfaction and an 82 percent customer recommendation rate.
The partnership with SoftBank will help develop its LINE MOBILE telecom service.
“I’m greatly honored at the opportunity to work together with SoftBank through this memorandum of understanding to grow and expand the LINE MOBILE business,” said Ayano Kado, representative director and president of LINE MOBILE. “I am fully confident that LINE MOBILE will become one of the major mobile telecommunication services demanded by users in the future through its three proposed values of ‘Simple,’ ‘Free’ and ‘Value.’”
“Through this partnership between Line — which brought to light a new form of communication in the smartphone generation — and SoftBank — the first carrier in Japan to carry the iPhone and [drive] the smartphone market — we will bring together our mutual strengths and strive to further improve users’ experiences with LINE MOBILE and continue to provide an appealing service that builds value in response to users’ diverse needs.”
While its mobile business is valued at around $15 million (1.7 billion JPY), a LINE company spokesperson told TechCrunch that the companies are still discussing the valuation for SoftBank’s investment, so it could ultimately be higher.