For those unfamiliar with the Japanese market, Rakuten is basically Japan’s answer to Amazon, which by its implication would suggest that the company is pretty huge and a force to be reckoned with in terms of online services in Japan. Now according to a press release from Rakuten, they have announced that they will be acquiring Viber for a whopping $900 million. According to Rakuten’s chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, “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.”
Viber’s CEO, Talmon Marco, sounded just as pleased by the acquisition, saying, “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 is thought by many to be a rival to Skype in terms of providing free VoIP calls on mobile devices. The platform boasts over 300 million users worldwide which was instrumental in helping to draw the attention of Rakuten. While Rakuten might be a name familiar in Japan, the company hopes that with the acquisition of Viber, they will be able to expand beyond Japan’s borders and we can’t wait to see what the company will do with their latest acquisition.