Softbank Pays US$20 Million for Stake in Ustream

Japan's Softbank has paid US$20 million for a 13.7 percent stake in Ustream, a company that offers anyone the chance to stream live video across the Internet, and holds options to purchase further shares, it said Tuesday.

The options, if exercised by July 2011, could see Softbank's investment reach $75 million, at which time it would become the single largest shareholder in the company with a stake of more than 30 percent.

Ustream began operations in March 2007 and has grown to attract more than 50 million viewers per month, according to Softbank. Usage of the service has expanded with the launch of an application for the iPhone that allows for live streaming from the handset to views on the Internet. More than 1.5 million copies of the application have been downloaded.

Ustream broadcasts can be watched through a Web broswer and are archived for later viewing.

Softbank is scheduled to announce its earnings for the October to December quarter later Tuesday in Tokyo and will stream the presentation via Ustream.

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