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Japan’s Rakuten buys chat app Viber for $900 million to expand digital empire

14
Feb
2014

By Chang-Ran Kim TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc, controlled by billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani, will buy call and messaging app provider Viber Media Inc for $900 million in a deal that would more than double the number of users in its digital empire. Rakuten offers services from financing to shopping to online video on its e-commerce platform, the largest in Japan. But in the face of a shrinking population and weak consumer spending at home, Mikitani is trying to re-invent Rakuten as a one-stop-site for a global audience. Privately held Viber, run from Cyprus by Israeli entrepreneur Talmon Marco, will add 300 million users to Rakutens existing 200 million users, Mikitani told reporters in Tokyo.

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