Softbank To Sink $400 Million in Korean Net Firms

Softbank is planning to invest a total of about US$400
million
in Korean Internet-based companies, with funding for US$100 million
starting
this month.

The Japanese software giant, which is run by a Korean-Japanese
businessman,
initially planned to invest US$100 million, but has decided to add
US$300
million in additional investment. It intends to raise the fund during
the
second half of the year.

Last December, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son promised in Seoul to invest
$100
million in the nation through Softbank Softbank Korea over the next three years.

“The amount is inadequate considering to the nation’s fast-growing
Internet
industry. Thus we will raise an additional $300 million during the
latter half
of this year,” said Sunny Lee, president of Softbank Korea.

For the funding, Softbank will raise 80 percent of the target amount though its
own
financial resources and the rest through IPOs,
according
to Lee.

The company is aiming at local Internet firms that are engaged in
financial
services, brokerage service, trading and insurance as well as wireless
ISPs.

“There are 250 Internet-related firms waiting to get listed on the
KOSDAQ
market and we’ve decided to expand the investment to acquire a leading
edge,
which is essential in the Internet business,” Lee said.

Softbank estimates that the number of Internet users in Korea is around
13
million, or nearly 30 percent of the nation’s total population. Currently, the
market
capitalization of Internet companies in the Kosdaq, the over-the-counter
stock
market, is about 90 trillion won (about US$75 billion).

News Around the Web