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Softbank Invests in Smartage, Cognotec

Japan's Softbank Monday took another step to increase its Internet presence, pouring almost $60 million in two e-commerce companies.

Softbank invested $39 million in business-to-business e-commerce service provider SmartAge.com and another $20 million in Cognotec.

SmartAge.com will use the funds to bolster its position in the small business market, build its brand, and develop infrastructure. The company also intends to expand into Japan, England, and France through three joint ventures agreements.

"Helping small businesses succeed online is a great market opportunity, and clearly SmartAge.com is in the leading position to be the market winner," said Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Softbank Corp.

"We will help SmartAge.com reach out to small and growing businesses in the U.S. and around the world."

Softbank Monday also invested $20 million to take a 10 percent stake in Dublin-based e-commerce solutions provider Cognotec.

The company's flagship product is the AutoDeal LITE automated trading model for the global foreign exchange market. The service allows banks to offer a branded foreign exchange and money market trading system.