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NTT DoCoMo May Announce Stake in AOL

September 25, 2000|Reuters

NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan's leading mobile phone carrier is expected today to announce that it's taking a 43% stake in America Online's Japan unit through a $120-million investment. The Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal, citing sources close to deal, said U.S. Internet giant AOL will pour an additional $100 million into its Japan unit and appoint a chief operating officer. In the next two years, AOL and DoCoMo will invest as much as an additional $200 million in AOL Japan, it said. NTT DoCoMo declined to comment on the report. Officials of AOL Japan could not be reached. Analysts say an alliance with AOL would help DoCoMo's drive to capture a wide chunk of the world's next-generation cell phone market, while cementing AOL's leadership position in Internet access. DoCoMo's investment and noncash contributions will give it a 43.3% stake in AOL Japan, the newspaper said. AOL will reduce its share from the current 50% to 39.3%. Trading house Mitsui & Co. and publisher Nihon Keizai Shimbun now hold 40% and 10%, respectively, of AOL Japan. They will hold the remaining 17.4% under the new agreement. The accord includes a separate agreement under which AOL and DoCoMo plan to jointly develop mobile Internet services in markets outside Japan, it said.

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