Softbank formed a joint venture with News Corp’s Internet subsidiary epartners
Capital, Ltd. that will facilitate the rapid market entry of U.S. Internet companies into
the U.K, Australia, New Zealand and India.
This venture, to be named eVentures, adopts a similar model that Softbank has used to
launch ten Internet companies including: Yahoo! Japan, GeoCities Japan, E*Trade
Japan, Broadcast.com Japan, and CarPoint Japan.
“It provides U.S. Internet companies immediate access to the UK, Australian, New
Zealand and Indian internet markets. News Corp. has been our long-time partner in
Japan and we share a common vision for the internet market,” said Masayoshi Son,
president & chief executive officer of Softbank Corp.
eVentures, headquartered in London, will be equally owned by Softbank and
epartners. The company will begin operations in the U.K. immediately followed by the
Australian, New Zealand and Indian internet markets.
Separately, Softbank also revealed a 50-50 venture with France’s Vivendi, S.A. which
will be called @VISO, S.A.S, and will be used to assist the entry of Softbank’s U.S.
Internet brands into Continental European markets including France, Germany, Spain
Both companies have contributed US$50 million to the venture.
According to Softbank representatives, @VISO will take responsibility for the full
market launch and ongoing oversight of the European versions of U.S. Web brands.
“Vivendi is a natural partner for us in Continental Europe,” said Softbank’s Masayoshi
Son. “Their vast media and telecommunication assets across Europe make them ideally
suited to help U.S. companies address the enormous, emerging market potential swiftly
At the same time, Vivendi will invest $200 million in Softbank’s new later stage US
venture capital fund becoming the fund’s second largest investor, after Softbank.
Vivendi and Softbank also intend to cooperate in early stage investments through
Viventures and Softbank Technology Ventures.