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Business deals

Zozo founder to launch new business after $2bn exit

Maezawa plans to work out and learn Russian to prepare for trips to space

From left: Yahoo Japan President Kentaro Kawabe, new Zozo President Kotaro Sawada, and Zozo founder Yusaku Maezawa, pose for photos during a news conference in Tokyo on Sept. 12. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- High-profile entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa said Thursday he would launch a new company and learn Russian to communicate with astronauts during his space travels, after agreeing to sell more than $2 billion worth of shares in Zozo, the online fashion mall he founded more than two decades ago.

Yahoo Japan, an affiliate of SoftBank Group, on Thursday announced plans to acquire 50.1% of Zozo shares for 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion), including a 30% stake held by Maezawa. Maezawa stepped down as CEO on the same day, marking an abrupt end to his relationship with the e-commerce juggernaut.

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