Viber, a very popular cross-platform instant messaging and VoIP services app, has been acquired by Rakuten Inc., a Japanese internet services giant based in Tokyo, for $900 million.
To give you quick background, Rakuten Group is an internet service companies that provide a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce, eBooks & eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. The company ranked among the Top 10 most innovative companies in Forbes magazine in 2012 and 2013. It started its venture into global digital content when it acquired Kobo Inc. in 2012, followed by Wuaki.tv and Viki.
With Rakuten’s acquisition of Viber, both companies will take advantage of each other’s global user base and members to enhance services and penetrate new markets. Viber has a growing user base of 300 million registered users while Rakuten Group has 225 million global members. Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, also emphasized Viber’s potential as a gaming platform.
“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.”
- Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani