On Thursday, Yahoo Japan Corp. said it has agreed to buy one of Japan's largest online fashion retailers Zozo Inc., founded by Yusaku Maezawa, for $3.7bn.
A subsidiary of tech and investment giant SoftBank Group, Yahoo Japan aims to acquire 50.1% stake in the popular fashion empire for 400 billion yen or $3.7 billion on the open market, in a bid to strengthen its e-commerce business and compete against online retail giants Amazon and Rakuten.
The flamboyant Japanese billionaire, known for purchasing lucrative art and harboring ambitions for space travel, announced today on Twitter that he will step down from his role as chief executive of Zozo Inc. and agreed to sell 30% stake to Yahoo Japan. The 43-year-old owns 36% of the conglomerate.
As of Wednesday, the Japanese company’s market capitalization is $6.25 billion. Following the surprising announcement, 19% of shares in Zozo jumped while Yahoo Japan saw a 5.7% rise.
While Zozo (formerly called Start Today) is the largest online fashion retailer in Japan, it has been struggling with falling profits.
The news also comes after the company’s failed attempt with customizing a body-measuring, Spandex polka-dot bodysuit and announced the closure of its European and US operations.
The Japanese billionaire and entrepreneur made a name for himself not only for defying the norms in Japanese society but also for purchasing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting for $110.5 million in 2017.
Last year, he was named as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced Maezawa as his first private passenger to be flown around the moon in 2023.
Prior to setting up Start Today in 1998 and launching Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown in 2004, he was famously known as the drummer for hardcore punk band Switch Style.
As of September, his real time net worth is $2.2 billion and is currently the country’s 22nd richest man on the Forbes’ list of Japan's 50 Richest 2019.