NEC Corporation and Japan Industrial Partners announced on January 30 an agreement to transfer all of NEC’s shares in its subsidiary NEC BIGLOBE to a special purpose company owned by Japan Industrial Partners Investment Limited Partnership and others. Under the agreement, the share transfer will be completed by the end of March 2014, and business operations will be carried out under a new organisational structure beginning April.

BIGLOBE was started in 1996 by NEC as an internet service provider. In 2006, due to flagging profits, NEC spun off BIGLOBE as a separate company. Since then, BIGLOBE has achieved healthy growth on the back of the increasing usage of internet and mobile networks, introducing innovations such as English Manga app Sugoi Books.

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However, these recent years have not been kind to BIGLOBE’s parent company NEC. Driven by its exit from the smartphone business, NEC logged a loss of US$266 million in the first half of FY2013 ending September.

This deal with Japan Industrial Partners is expected to net nearly US$264 million for NEC, bolstering its financial situation considerably. As a matter of fact, NEC stocks rallied on the news of this deal, gaining 9.3 per cent on January 30.

On the other side of the equation, Japan Industrial Partners has invested in a wide range of business divisions and subsidiaries of major corporations, gaining extensive experience in strategic initiatives that maximise business value. One of its recent acquisitions was of Olympus Corp’s mobile telecom unit in 2012, valued at US$674 million.

Under the terms of this agreement, BIGLOBE will receive financial and management support from Japan Industrial Partners, as well as continued collaboration with NEC’s enterprise system integration and service business to support its current and future customers. These terms, coupled with BIGLOBE’s over three million broadband and mobile subscribers across its platforms, all point toward further sustainable business growth.

With this, BIGLOBE aims to actively expand its business and create new value-added services through the combination of broadband and mobile communications. This also means that its affiliates, which include venture firm BIGLOBE Capital and internet advertiser Cyberwing, can be expected to increase their operations, expanding their services to more startups and tech firms alike.

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