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BuzzFeed is partnering with Yahoo Japan in a joint venture to bring its mix of online entertainment and news to the world’s third-largest Internet market later this year, the two companies said Tuesday. BuzzFeed will own 51 percent of the new venture.
BuzzFeed has already launched localized platforms in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, India, Germany, Mexico, and Canada, but Japan’s idiosyncratic market has proved a tricky one for a number of global companies.
“We’ve been really successful with the wholly owned and operated, organic-growth model we’ve used for launches in other countries, but in Japan we want to open with a partner who can help accelerate our growth. This is why a joint venture makes the most sense,” wrote BuzzFeed president Greg Coleman on the company’s website, announcing the deal.
Jonah Peretti founded BuzzFeed in New York in 2006 and remains CEO. The company raised $50 million from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in August last year, valuing it at $850 million.
Yahoo Japan is a joint venture between Yahoo of the U.S. and Japanese telecom and Internet giant SoftBank, led by CEO Masayoshi Son. Yahoo had been the leading search engine in Japan for decades under the guidance of SoftBank, but Google has recently overtaken it. SoftBank’s big break came when it took over the operations of Vodafone in Japan after the British telecom heavyweight struggled in the local market.
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