Technology

Rakuten Purchases Viber for $900 Million

In a spectacular deal, Rakuten has decided to purchase Viber for no less than $900 million. Rakuten Inc currently is one of the largest Internet service companies in the US. Viber is a popular messaging and VoIP company. 

This is not the first interesting purchase that Rakuten makes. It actually comes after the company decided to invest in the purchase of Kobo, Viki and Wuaki.tv.

It seems that what Rakuten is willing to do is to enter the digital content space. Maybe with this new purchase, the company will be able to make quite an important move into social networking. 

Rakuter began to show its interest in global digital content in 2012, when it purchased Kobo Inc., one of the fastest growing eReading services in the world. 

The Japanese online company is controlled by billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani, who claimed that following this addition to his company, Viber will be responsible with providing a distribution channel for Rakuten. Moreover, reports indicate that the company is willing to create a game platform on Viber. 

Viber currently has more than 300 million users, who access its instant messaging and free Internet phone services, so the acquisition will give Rakuter quite an important push in the company’s intention to compete against its Japanese rival Naver Corp. 

“In the future e-commerce will become a more communication-based transaction,” Mikitani said. He also added that “live interactivity is going to be critical for all Internet services.”

The statement went on to add that Viber perfectly understood what people want, so they built a service that delivers just that. “This makes Viber the ideal total customer engagement platform for Rakuten as we seek to bring out deep understand of the customer vast new audiences,” Mikitani explained in his statement.  

The deal is expected to be closed only in March, but the two parties seem to have reached the final agreement. Last year, Mikitani controlled 27.7 percent of Japan’s Internet retailing market and is expected for the new acquisition to represent a boost on this sector, too. 

Mikitani currently is the third-richest man in Japan, with a net worth of no less than $9.2 billion. Rakuten is described as an electronic commerce and Internet company, with the largest e-commerce site in Japan. The company was founded in 1997 by Hiroshi Mikitani.

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