Softbank to end dispute with Alipay soon

Updated: 2011-06-20 15:49
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Softbank Corp Chairman Masayoshi Son said he expects to reach an agreement "soon" on its dispute over Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's sale of the Alipay online-payment unit.

Son didn't elaborate on details of the talks with Alibaba to reporters in Seoul, where he attended an energy forum today. Softbank, Japan's fastest-growing mobile-phone carrier, is the second-biggest shareholder at Alibaba, which spun off its Alipay business without the consent of Softbank and Yahoo! Inc, the largest stakeholder.

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Alibaba, China's biggest electronic-commerce company, is "optimistic" it will reach an agreement with Yahoo and Softbank over the spinoff of Alipay, Jack Ma, chief executive officer at the Chinese company, said on June 1. Shares of Softbank and Yahoo have underperformed their respective benchmark indexes since last month's disclosure that Alipay was sold without the knowledge of the shareholders.

Softbank shares were unchanged in Tokyo trading as of the 11 am break and have declined 8.2 percent since Yahoo disclosed that Alibaba had divested Alipay. That compares with the 4.6 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Alibaba's Ma last week said Softbank and Yahoo were wrong in delaying a decision over the reorganization of Alipay, which he said was needed to expedite the application of an online payment license in China.