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More big companies gobbling startups for tech, talent

Venture-focused M&A deals surge more than sixfold in four years

Online ticket seller Hunza was acquired by Mixi in 2015; now their employees work side by side.

TOKYO -- Large corporations are increasingly acquiring or investing in Japan's startups to get their hands on fresh technology and talent, speeding expansion into new fields and helping drive the country's cycle of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mergers and acquisitions involving unlisted Japanese startups numbered 347 in 2016, up from just 52 in 2012, the first year in which M&A consultancy Recof kept count. The value of these transactions, which include deals for minority stakes, grew by a factor of 3.6 to 102.5 billion yen ($922 million).

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