Billionaire founder of Japan's Zozo takes stakes in fashion retailers

FILE PHOTO: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo, who has been chosen as the first private passenger by SpaceX, attends a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - The billionaire founder of Japanese online fashion store Zozo Inc 3092.T, Yusaku Maezawa, acquired large stakes in two Japanese apparel companies including multi-brand retailer United Arrows 7606.T, regulatory filings showed on Thursday.

Yusaku Maezawa bought an 8% stake in United Arrows for 3.5 billion yen ($32.78 million) and a 6% stake in Adastria 2685.T, another retail group, for 3.9 billion yen, according to the filings.

The moves were for investment purposes with friendly intentions, the filings said, while adding that he may “make proposals or offer advice to management if needed”.

Maezawa, who has signed up for a trip around the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and is known for hosting cash giveaways on Twitter, stepped down as CEO of Zozo last year when he sold it to SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T.

He said he earned around 150 billion yen from the sale, even after retaining an 18% stake in Zozo.

Zozo’s online mall started out by selling brands with an edge, but now carries a wide range of names and is the most popular shopping site for mid- to high-end fashion.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman