Line Yahoo executives stress job security to Korean staff amid stake talks

2024.05.16 10:17:27

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

Line Yahoo Corp.’s management has broken its silence on Line Plus Corp., its South Korean subsidiary, amid ongoing negotiations between Naver Corp. and SoftBank Corp. over Line’s management control.

Concerns are rising among Korean employees about potential job insecurity should a change in ownership occur, prompting actions from Line Plus’s leadership and even Line Yahoo’s CEO.

The genesis of this issue traces back to last month when Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued administrative guidance on Line Yahoo, the Japanese operator of Line. The directive came in the aftermath of a data breach incident that rattled the messenger app’s security framework in November last year.

Line Plus, fully owned by Z Intermediate, Line Yahoo’s intermediary holding company, oversees Line’s core business operations outside Japan, including Southeast Asia. Currently, Line Plus and Line Financial employ over 2,500 personnel in Korea.

On Tuesday, Line Plus held an online town hall meeting involving its entire staff. Attended by Line Plus CEO Lee Eun-jung and several executives, including Line Yahoo’s Chief Product Officer (CPO) Shin Jung-ho and Line Yahoo’s CEO Takeshi Idezawa, the meeting predominantly addressed questions regarding the ongoing stake negotiations between Naver and SoftBank and concerns about employment.

Line Yahoo is 64 percent owned by A Holdings, which was formed in 2021 when Naver and SoftBank merged their operations on a 50/50 basis.

During the meeting, both Korean and Japanese executives emphasized their commitment to prevent any adverse effects on Line-affiliated employees, particularly those in Korea.

Line Plus CEO Lee vowed to leverage all available authority to safeguard Korean employees should they face unfair treatment from the parent company. Additionally, CEO Idezawa pledged to ensure job stability for all employees.

Hayashi Yoshimasa, Japan’s top government spokesperson, in the meantime, addressed the issue during a press briefing on Wednesday, highlighting that Tokyo’s administrative guidance on Line Yahoo aims to enhance safety management and reassess security governance, stressing the importance of effective outsourcing management.

By Ko Min-suh, Hwang Soon-min and Minu Kim

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