Japan’s Rakuten to acquire Viber
Deal will increase e-commerce firm’s user base by 150%
Viber Media Inc, providers of the popular messaging app of the same name, is to be acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant, Rakuten Inc for $900m.
Rakuten operates the largest e-commerce platform in Japan, offering a range of services including finance, retail and online video. But in the face of dwindling consumer spending in its home market home, co-founder and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani is keen to globalise the platform. Acquisition of Cyprus-based Viber is expected to add 300m users to Rakuten’s existing 200m, according to Mikitani.
"This acquisition... will take Rakuten to a different level," he said. "Developing this messaging system on our own would have been impossible.”
Rakuten recently reported an 80% rise in its 2013 operating profit.
Viber remains in the top five most downloaded messaging apps, counting Skype, WhatsApp and WeChat among its rivals.