Owner of Play.com snaps up messaging and VoIP service Viber

E-commerce

by CBR Staff Writer| 17 February 2014

Rakuten would use Viber’s network in emerging markets to spread out the reach of its digital content.

Japanese e-commerce major Rakuten, has acquired free call and messaging app provider Viber Media for £540m, which would more than double its users to 500 million in digital sphere.

According to the owner of Play.com, the latest deal would also allow it to bolster its global platform as well as make it a top internet services firm.

Rakuten chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani said that the latest acquisition is a totally new strategy that will take Rakuten to a different level.

"Viber delivers the most consistently high quality and convenient messaging and VoIP experience available," Mikitani said.

"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."

The Japanese firm has been building the 'Rakuten Ecosystem' to accumulate its own range of services; present a common account to users across all of them, in addition to offering a rewards programme for purchases.

Rakuten will make use of the Cyprus-based firm's network in emerging markets to spread out the reach of its digital content.

According to Viber chief executive Talmon Marco, the acquisition would assist Viber develop into a platform for digital content, not just a provider of free voice calls and messages.

"This combination presents an amazing opportunity for Viber to enhance our rapid user growth in both existing and new markets," Marco added.

Allowing sending free text messages, make phone calls and share photographs across mobile devices and desktops, Viber reportedly has 280m registered users globally.

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