Japan LDH sells Livedoor to S.Korea NHN for $68 mln

Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:09pm IST

Stocks

   

* Sells Web portal to South Korea's top Internet company

* NHN seeks to boost Japan business after 2009 re-entry

(Adds details)

TOKYO/SEOUL, April 12 (Reuters) - Japan's LDH Corp has agreed to sell Internet portal Livedoor Co to South Korea's top Internet company NHN Corp (035420.KS) for $68 million, a deal that is expected to boost NHN's operations in Japan.

LDH Corp said on Monday it would sell Livedoor for 6.3 billion yen ($67.6 million), adding that Livedoor planned to pay a total dividend of 3 billion yen ahead of the sale to NHN.

In a filing to the local exchange, NHN said the deal would be closed by mid-May between its Japanese unit NHN Japan and LDH Corp.

NHN, South Korea's top Internet portal and Web search service, has long been expected to buy Livedoor as it seeks to expand in the Japanese Internet search market that it re-entered last year after leaving in 2005.

NHN also runs the Hangame online game portal in Japan.

Livedoor operates a portal attracting 30 million users per month and reported an operating profit of 1 billion yen for the fiscal year ended September 2009 on 9.4 billion yen in revenue.

LDH Corp, formerly Livedoor Holdings, was delisted in 2006 in the wake of an accounting scandal.

NHN dominates Web search traffic in South Korea, one of the world's most wired countries, leading by far foreign rivals such as Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) and Google Inc (GOOG.O).

In South Korea, its portal service Naver has 34 million registered users, while users for its gaming portal Hangame reach 30 million.

Shares in NHN ended flat on Monday while the broader Seoul market .KS11 was down 0.8 percent.

($1=93.15 Yen)

((Reporting by Taiga Uranaka in TOKYO and Rhee So-eui in SEOUL; Editing by Chris Lewis))

((taiga.uranaka@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1813; Reuters Messaging: taiga.uranaka.reuters.com@reuters.net))

((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: NHN/LIVEDOOR

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