SoftBank to pay $1.6 bln for Yahoo Japan rights

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People walk in front of a logo of Softbank Corp at its branch in Tokyo March 2, 2011. Yahoo Inc is in advanced talks to exit its joint venture in Japan with Softbank Corp, a move that could lead it to focus on reaching a decision on its China assets. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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TOKYO, July 5 (Reuters) - SoftBank's internet business Z Holdings Corp (4689.T) said on Monday it has agreed to pay 178.5 billion yen ($1.61 billion) to secure the rights to Yahoo branding and technology in perpetuity in Japan.

In contrast to the retreat of Yahoo in the United States, the brand remains a core part of SoftBank's domestic internet business where the name adorns a web portal and services like shopping and weather.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) is offloading media businesses including Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo Global (APO.N) after struggling to compete with internet giants in a $5 billion deal set to close in the second half of this year.

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The Yahoo Japan transaction will go into effect after the Apollo deal closes.

Previously known as Yahoo Japan, SoftBank's internet business rebranded as Z Holdings and is betting on services such as payments app PayPay and chat app Line for growth in Japan and Southeast Asia.

($1 = 110.9800 yen)

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Reporting by Sam Nussey, editing by Louise Heavens and Kevin Liffey

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