Japan’s Rakuten buys Viber messaging app for $900m
Saturday 15 February 2014
The Japanese online retail giant Rakuten has paid $900m (£540m) for the messaging app Viber as it tries to find new ways to attract customers.
Viber, developed by the Cyprus-based Viber Media, lets smartphone users make free calls and send messages over the internet. The app has more than 300 million registered users and operates in almost 200 countries.
Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retailer, has bought a number of companies in recent years as it looks to move beyond web-based retailing, including the Canadian e-reader maker Kobo and the video on demand service Wuaki.tv.
The Viber acquisition gives Rakuten a foothold in the mobile messaging market, and the company called the purchase a “bold step”.
Rakuten’s chairman and chief executive, Hiroshi Mikitani, called Viber a “total consumer engagement platform”, adding: “Simply put, Viber understands how people actually want to engage and [offers] the only service that truly delivers on all fronts.”
Mobile messaging is seen as a key growth area for e-commerce companies, with many retailers hoping to use the service to reach consumers through their smartphones.
The hugely popular Chinese instant messaging app WeChat is a cornerstone of e‑commerce giant Tencent’s business. Other popular messaging apps include Snapchat, WhatsApp, Line and Facebook Messenger.
Viber’s founder, Talmon Marco, said: “Our vision is to be the world’s number one communications platform and our combination with Rakuten is an important step in that direction.”
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...