By  on May 9, 2011

TOKYO — Japanese cell phone service provider Softbanksaid Monday it has invested $62.5 million in Internet retailer GiltGroupe Inc. and has agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in Gilt's Japanesesubsidiary.

Softbank said it will help accelerate Gilt's growthin Japan. The members-only retailer, which sells luxury and fashionitems at a discount, launched its Japanese site in 2009. Softbank saidGilt now has more than 3.5 million members worldwide.

"GiltGroupe K.K. [the retailer's Japanese subsidiary] has established itselfas the industry leader in the Japanese market with its high-qualityservice and products. The company will continue to expand its businessthrough its joint venture with Softbank, which has wide range ofexperience in the Internet field," the telecommunications company said.

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