LINE and Venture Republic Sign Agreement for Capital and Business Alliance in Travel Sector

2018.07.11 Corporate Announcement

● Leverage the knowledge from Venture Republic's "Travel.jp" and LINE's mobile messaging platform in order to provide a cohesive end-to-end travel service through "LINE Travel"

 

TOKYO – July 11, 2018 – LINE Corporation ("LINE Corp.") and Venture Republic Inc. ("Venture Republic") have signed an agreement for a capital and business alliance in the travel sector.

 

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LINE Corp. will invest in Venture Republic for 34% worth of equity ownership through this alliance. Together with 3 new directors and 1 new corporate auditor from LINE Corp., Venture Republic will further enhance its board and management team. The new board will consist of 6 directors and 2 corporate auditors. Venture Republic's current CEO Kei Shibata and COO Kenichi Shibata will remain as the company’s representatives.

 

Venture Republic operates "Travel.jp," a leading online travel metasearch and media outlet for travelers in Japan with over 15 million monthly visitors. Users can search and compare over 1.1 million airfares and package tours offered by 250 travel companies as well as 30,000 domestic accommodations and 1.3 million international accommodations. Furthermore, Travel.jp also provides "Travel.jp Travel Guide," an online information source focusing on travel in which travel experts (travel writers/bloggers) share their ideas on destinations, accommodations and local activities.

 

LINE Corporation, operating under its corporate mission of "Closing the Distance," provides its over 75 million monthly active users in Japan with high value-added services as the company moves forward with its all-inclusive Smart Portal strategy, through which the LINE messaging app serves as a gateway that seamlessly connects users to people, information, services, companies, and brands. The "LINE Commerce Gateway" was introduced in 2017 as a new concept enabling users to start every shopping journey from within LINE. Two new services were launched as part of this concept: "LINE Shopping" and "LINE Delima." By creating new touchpoints between users and businesses, LINE has been providing a unique and seamless shopping experience to users. Through this alliance with Travel.jp, LINE Travel (launched June 28) is the latest service to join the LINE Commerce Gateway, and will enable users to search for, compare, and book domestic and overseas trips.

 

Through this capital and business alliance, LINE and Travel.jp will work together to maximize their use of LINE's massive user-base together with the knowledge Travel.jp has built up in order to create an end-to-end service that can recommend the perfect travel arrangements – from before (when the user gets the urge to travel and through the planning/reservation phase), during (mid-trip activity and restaurant arrangements phase), and after (the post-trip phase of sharing memories and recommendations) –for each individual user. To illustrate, should travelers' plans be disrupted by rain, travelers will be able to receive information on recommended indoor activities on LINE platform by utilizing LINE’s real-time, location-based service and matching relevant content from Travel.jp's selection of activities and restaurants that can still be enjoyed even on a rainy day.

 

— Comment from Takeshi Idezawa (Representative Director, President, Chief Executive Officer of LINE Corporation):

The "LINE Commerce Gateway" was introduced last year as a new concept enabling users to start every shopping journey from within LINE, with LINE Travel (launched last month) being the latest service to join the LINE Commerce Gateway. Venture Republic's Travel.jp enables users to not only search for and compare airfare, tours, and hotels, but it also provides a vast amount of content that leaves its users feeling satisfied with their whole travel experience from start to finish, such as through its travel expert-curated "Guide Pages" that show off the wonders of the places users can visit. As such, I am pleased to be able to provide through this capital and business alliance with Venture Republic an end-to-end travel service that takes users beyond the end of their vacation where they can share their memories with friends, in addition to suggesting travel plans even better optimized for each user and providing more enriching travel experiences.

 

— Comment from Kei Shibata (Representative Director, Chief Executive Officer of Venture Republic Inc.):

Travel and tourism is a big industry that accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP. As the travel and tourism market in Japan continues to grow with a highlight by the increase of demand for inbound visits to Japan, the online travel market in Japan utilizing the Internet is expected to achieve higher growth yet. Since 2001, Venture Republic has been focusing on building businesses in online travel space through running Travel.jp, Trip101 and other online properties. Today, Travel.jp has become Japan’s largest online travel metasearch & travel guide media attracting more than 15 million monthly users. With the increasing use of smartphones by travelers, this partnership between LINE, which operates the LINE application that has become an overwhelming user platform for mobile, and Travel.jp, which aggregates over 6.5 million travel products from 250 travel companies and more than 27,000 travel guide articles written by 500 travel experts, will allow us to provide some of the most unique online travel services in the world that address end-to-end needs of travelers. I am thrilled with this great opportunity.

 

Summary

Execution date of Share Transfer Agreement: July 11, 2018

Planned Share Acquisition Date: August 1, 2018 (tentative)


Company Overviews

LINE Corporation

Location of Head Office: JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower 23F, 4-1-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Business: Provision and operation of the LINE messaging app and content and services made available on the LINE platform, in addition to other web service businesses, providing financial services, and AI businesses

Representative: Takeshi Idezawa, Representative Director, President, Chief Executive Officer

Established: September 4, 2000

Number of Employees: 1,692 (non-consolidated; as of April 30, 2018)

Capital: JPY 92.728 billion (As of March 31, 2018)

 

Venture Republic Inc.

Location of Head Office: NishiAzabu Building, 4-3-11 NishiAzabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Business: Media operation business etc. aimed at assisting consumers in their purchasing activities including those related to travel

Representatives: Kei Shibata, Representative Director and Chief Executive Officer; Kenichi Shibata, Representative Director and Chief Operating Officer

Established: August 1, 2013

Number of Employees: 48 (as of June 30, 2018)

Capital: JPY 10 million (as of March 31, 2018)