Internet company @Home goes Japanese

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TOKYO--Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corp. announced April 7 it has set up a venture to bring cable TV-based Internet firm @Home Corp. of California to Japanese consumers from 2000.

The venture, which includes Sumitomo with a 21.4% stake, Sumitomo-affiliated cable company Jupiter Telecommunications with a 35.7% stake and @Home with a 42.9% stake, will have an initial capital of $16.7 million and be established in the middle of May, Sumitomo said. Consumer service is slated to start next year.

The news of the venture sent Sumitomo shares higher in Tokyo trading on April 7, with the company closing at 855 yen, an increase of 5.5% on its opening price.

@Home provides high-speed Internet connections through cable TV lines. Sumitomo's Jupiter service is the largest in Japan, with more than six million subscribers at the end of 1998. Jupiter is a joint venture in which U.S. cable operator TCI and Sumitomo are the main shareholders.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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