|[February 14, 2014]
Rakuten Acquires Viber for $900 million
TOKYO --(Business Wire)--
Rakuten Inc (4755:Tokyo), one of the world's largest Internet services
companies, announced today its acquisition of pioneering messaging and
VoIP company, Viber. Rakuten will acquire Viber for a total
consideration of $900 million. The acquisition represents another bold
step for Rakuten into the digital content space, following its
acquisitions of Kobo, Wuaki.tv, and Viki.
As people continue to shift from traditional content and communications
platforms to mobile applications, Viber, one of the most popular mobile
communications services worldwide with a rapidly growing global user
base of 300 million registered users, perfectly complements Rakuten's
strategy in the digital space. As Rakuten aims to become the world's
No.1 Internet services company, this acquisition will enable Rakuten to
penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings, in
combination with its e-commerce and financial services platforms.
With 40 different services, Rakuten has built one of the world's most
robust and dynamic Internet services ecosystems, centered around a
unified ID membership database that features the enormously popular and
successful online Rakuten Super Points rewards program. Viber's fun
approach to messaging and high quality VoIP services is a perfect
marriage with Rakuten's digital content offerings and its "Shopping is
Entertainment" philosophy laying the foundation for the world's most
comprehensive and engaging daily online platform. The combination also
unlocks massive new potential markets for Viber through Rakuten Group's
roughly 225 million global members.
Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, commented:
"I am tremendously excited to welcome Viber to the Rakuten family. Viber
delivers the most consistently high quality and convenient messaging and
VoIP experience available. Additionally, Viber has introduced a great
sticker market and has tremendous potential as gaming platform. Simply
put, Viber understands how people actually want to engage and
have built the only service that truly delivers on all fronts. This
makes Viber the ideal total consumer engagement platform for Rakuten as
we seek to bring our deep understanding of the consumer to vast new
audiences through our dynamic ecosystem of Internet Services."
Viber CEO and Founder, Talmon Marco, underlined these synergies:
"Rakuten is one of the world's most important Internet companies. It is
truly dominant in its home market of Japan and has been rapidly
expanding globally. This combination presents an amazing opportunity for
Viber to enhance our rapid user growth in both existing and new markets.
Sharing similar aspirations with Rakuten, our vision is to be the
world's No.1 communications platform and our combination with Rakuten is
an important step in that direction."
Viber's multi-platform application adoption is undeniably impressive.
The business has demonstrated significant growth reaching 300 million
registered users, growing over 120% in 2013.
Rakuten began its march into global digital content in 2012 with the
acquisition of Kobo Inc., one of the world's fastest-growing eReading
services, that now offers 4 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to
customers in 190 countries. In 2012, Rakuten acquired Wuaki.tv, an
innovative Europe-based video-on-demand and streaming service, which
recently began its international expansion beyond Spain by offering
customers in the UK its premier movie titles catalogue and unique hybrid
payment model. More recently, in September 2013, Rakuten acquired
borderless digital content platform, Viki, which now reaches 65% of its
30 million monthly users through mobile devices.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as sole financial advisor to Viber. White &
Case LLP acted as sole legal advisor to Viber.
ABOUT RAKUTEN, INC.
Rakuten, Inc. (4755:Tokyo), is one of the world's leading Internet
service companies, providing a variety of services for consumers and
businesses, including in the areas of e-commerce, eReading, travel,
banking, securities , credit cards, e-money, logistics, portal and
media, online marketing and professional sports. In both 2012 and 2013,
Rakuten was ranked among the world's Top 10 most innovative companies in
Forbes magazine's annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and
currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania.
Headquartered in Tokyo Rakuten was founded in 1997 and currently has
over 10,000 employees and partner staff worldwide. For more information: http://global.rakuten.com/corp/.
Viber is developed by Viber Media, a pioneering mobile messaging and
VoIP company. Viber lets everyone in the world connect. Freely. Viber
users can send free text messages, fun stickers, photos, videos and
doodles, share locations anywhere in the world, make free HD-quality
calls and communicate with Push-To-Talk. With Viber Out, users can make
low-cost calls to any phone number around the world. Viber is available
for iPhone®, Android phones and tablets,™ Windows Phone (News - Alert), Blackberry®,
Windows®, Windows 8®, Mac, Linux, Symbian, Nokia S40 and Bada devices
over 3G/4G or WiFi connections. With nearly 300 million users in 193
countries, Viber is constantly innovating by introducing new platforms
and adding fun new features.
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