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Rakuten says to book 110b yen gain on Lyft investment

[TOKYO] Japan's Rakuten said on Monday it will book a 110 billion yen (S$1.34 billion) gain in the quarter through March on its investment in Lyft following the US ride-hailing firm's listing last week.

Rakuten become Lyft's largest shareholder with a 13 per cent stake ahead of its IPO. Lyft shares closed 9 per cent higher at US$78.29 in their market debut on Friday, giving the loss-making firm a market cap of around US$22.2 billion.

Rakuten's shares were down 3 per cent by the midday break in Tokyo on Monday, underperforming the broader market. Its shares have climbed 38 per cent this year on rising investor expectations of returns on its tech investments.

Those bets include ride-hailing firm Careem, which is being acquired by Uber for US$3.1 billion, and image sharing website Pinterest, which has filed for an IPO.

Rakuten's finances are being squeezed with falling margins at its core e-commerce unit and it is making an ambitious attempt to break into Japan's mature telecoms market with the start of carrier services in October.

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