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Business deals

Zozo founder Maezawa takes big stake in Japan apparel makers

Entrepreneur bought 8% of United Arrows and 6% of Adastria

Yusaku Maezawa established Zozo's predecessor company in 1998 and stepped down as president in 2019.

TOKYO -- Yusaku Maezawa, former president and founder of online fashion retailer Zozo, has become a major shareholder in two of Japan's two leading apparel makers, United Arrows and Adastria.

As of Aug. 7, Maezawa appears to have bought a nearly 8% stake in United Arrows and 5.6% of Adastria on the open market for an estimated 8 billion yen ($74.9 million) in total. According to a large shareholdings report released on Thursday, the stakes give Maezawa the right to advise or make proposals to the two companies' management on a friendly basis.

Maezawa established the predecessor to Zozo, a company that sold imported records and CDs, 1998. The company started an online shopping site in 2000 and launched Zozotown in 2004.

Zozotown became popular with young people as a site for clothes from select shops and leading apparel makers. The company was bought out by Z Holdings last year and Maezawa stepped down as president.

Maezawa also earned notoriety as the first prospective passenger for Elon Musk's space venture SpaceX's commercial flight around the moon, according to an announcement from SpaceX in 2018.

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