Google to buy Japan payments firm Pring

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The logo of Google is seen on a building at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

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TOKYO, July 13 (Reuters) - Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O) has agreed to buy payments business Pring from backers including fintech firm Metaps Inc (6172.T) as the U.S. tech giant pushes into Japan's rapidly growing market for cashless services.

The startup's three top shareholders - Metaps, software company Miroku Jyoho Service Co Ltd (9928.T) and Nippon Gas Co (8174.T) - announced on Tuesday they would sell their combined 87% holding in Pring to Google.

Metaps said it is selling its 45% stake for 4.9 billion yen ($44 million).

Google has operated its smartphone payments business - now called Google Pay - in Japan since 2016. Tech companies such as SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and Rakuten Group Inc (4755.T) as well as financial firms are encouraging Japanese consumers to move away from a deep-seated preference for cash.

($1 = 110.3300 yen)

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Reporting by Tokyo Newsroom; Editing by Kim Coghill and Edwina Gibbs

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