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The merger, expected to be announced in Tokyo, could lead to an initial public offering of the combined company, valuing it at about $5 billion.
GATES, MALONE IN JAPANESE INTERNET/CABLE MOVE
Merger Could Lead To IPO, Shake-Up In Japanese High-Speed Internet Access Market
Microsoft Chairman bill gates',390,400);">bill gates',390,400);">Bill Gates and U.S. cable kingpin John Malone, who heads AT&T's Liberty Media, are due to announce on Tuesday a merger of their Japanese cable interests, the Financial Times reported Monday (6/26).

The paper, which did not cite any sources online, said the deal would see Jupiter Telecommunications, Japan's largest cable company, merge with Titus Communications.

Liberty Media and Japanese trading company Sumitomo are the principal shareholders in Jupiter Telecommunications, while Microsoft bought a 60% stake in Titus earlier this year.

The merger, expected to be announced in Tokyo, could lead to an initial public offering of the combined company, valuing it at about $5 billion, the FT said.

Analysts said the tie, slated for Sept. 1, would herald a shake-up in Japan's promising but underdeveloped market for high-speed Internet access by prompting more consolidation. That would pose a threat to the earnings of dominant telecommunications carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, since cable operators often have faster and cheaper Internet access.

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