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NHN buys Japanese Internet provider Livedoor

TOKYO, Apr 12 – South Korea\’s largest Internet portal company NHN has agreed to buy its Japanese rival Livedoor for 6.3 billion yen (67.5 million dollars), the two companies said Monday.

In a joint statement the companies said that NHN, which runs South Korean Internet search engine Naver, has signed a contract on the deal with LDH Corp., the owner of Livedoor.

The deal will see LDH sell 100,000 shares in Livedoor to NHN by May 10, they said. The sale accounts for 99 percent of LDH\’s holding.

"We would like to expand Livedoor as our core business so that we can aim to become the best Internet company in Japan," Akira Morikawa, president of NHN Japan, a Japanese unit of NHN, told a news conference in Tokyo.

With the new ownership, the company said it hoped to expand its business in Asia, particularly in South Korea and China, where NHN has a strong presence.

LDH was formerly known as Livedoor Holdings, delisted in April 2006 in the wake of an accounting fraud scandal involving its founder, Takafumi Horie, who was jailed for two and a half years.

Livedoor has since recovered from the episode and reported annual revenue of 4.9 billion yen in its fiscal 2009, positioning itself as the eighth-largest portal website in the country.

LDH is still embroiled in lawsuits filed by Livedoor shareholders seeking compensation for losses after its stock price plunged following the scandal.

NHN formed NHN Japan in September 2000 and has since been developing its popular online game site, named "Hangame", in the Japanese market.

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