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Softbank America Sells Yahoo! Shares

With the intention of getting a quick cash fix, Softbank America Tuesday pared its stake in Yahoo to 14.3 percent from 16 percent, acquiring $171 million from the sale.

Softbank America's parent, Japanese investment giant Softbank Corp., has long been trying to reduce debt and get cash to float its asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) business "Yahoo BB", which it launched with Yahoo! Japan in September. Softbank last sold shares in Yahoo! in December 2001 when SBC, with whom Yahoo! enjoys a strategic relationship tying DSL services from various companies with its Web services, bought 3 percent from the holding firm.

At its peak, Softbank's stake in Yahoo stood at 37 percent in 1996, and according to published reports, analysts say it is likely that Softbank will sell more Yahoo! stock.

Yahoo!'s isn't the only stock Softbank has been ridding itself of in the past year. The company also sold shares of online brokerage E*Trade Group, U.S. communications equipment maker UTStarcom and digital satellite broadcaster Sky Perfect Communications.

Analysts have exercised caution about supporting Softbank, questioning its financial health because its ADSL business has not turned a profit.