Tokyo – Rakuten Inc (4755:Tokyo), one of the world’s largest Internet services companies, announced on February 14 its acquisition of pioneering messaging and VoIP company, Viber. Rakuten will acquire Viber for a total consideration of US$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, complements Rakuten’s strategy in the digital space. The acquisition will enable Rakuten to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings, in combination with its e-commerce and financial services platforms. Rakuten’s Internet services ecosystems is centred around a unified ID membership database that features the popular and successful online Rakuten Super Points rewards program. 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 a 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.”