AT&T to sell part of Japan ops for $101 mn

AT&T to sell part of Japan ops for $101 mn

Tokyo: AT&T Inc, the biggest US phone company by revenue, will sell part of its Japanese operations to Internet Initiative Japan for $101 million, the Internet access service provider said on Tuesday.

The deal is the latest overseas asset sale by AT&T, which is looking to reduce its footprint in international markets where it faces competition with well-established local players.

In April it sold its remaining stake in Indian IT services firm Tech Mahindra.

IIJ said it will acquire a new subsidiary to be set up by AT&T to spin off its Japan network outsourcing service business, for ¥9.17 billion ($100.7 million) in cash on 1 September. The business is mainly aimed at corporate clients.

AT&T had been looking for a buyer for the business since last year, following a series of acquisitions to bolster its US wireless operations.

IIJ, which is owned nearly a quarter by Japanese communications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, raised its earnings forecasts to factor in the expected contribution from the AT&T businesses.

IIJ lifted its operating profit forecast for the financial year to March 2011 by 11.6 percent to 4.8 billion yen and its sales forecast by 19% to ¥84.5 billion.

Before the announcement, IIJ shares closed down 4.2% at ¥200,500, against a 0.6% fall in the benchmark Nikkei average.