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AOL, NTT DoCoMo Deal

September 28, 2000|Associated Press

America Online, the world's largest Internet services provider, is allying with Japanese cellular phone giant NTT DoCoMo in a $100-million deal that will give AOL greater access to the prized Japanese market. The companies said they also plan to develop services linking personal computers and mobile phones with an eye toward marketing them internationally. NTT DoCoMo will pay $100 million for a 42.3% stake in AOL Japan, making it the company's largest shareholder. AOL Japan, currently 50% owned by AOL and 40% by Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co., has had difficulty attracting subscribers. The alliance will give AOL a break into NTT DoCoMo's proprietary i-mode service that provides access to the Internet through cellular phones. AOL will get access to wireless technology, considered the future of cyberspace, and access to i-mode's 12 million subscribers in a market where AOL's members number only 450,000. AOL shares fell $2 to close at $53.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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