The messaging app Viber has been in the news of late, whether it is because of threatening bans from certain governmental authorities or takeover bids. But finally it appears as though one such firm had the correct figure in mind and coupled with the right package too. Japanese e-commerce giant, Rakuten, has purchased the Viber messaging app for $900m as it is starting to grow its digital content for the future. Rakuten, which also owns North America’s e-reader; Kobo, said the purchase would allow it to expand its digital content into emerging markets.
Other recent purchases from Rakuten include on-demand service Wuaki.tv and streaming-service Viki. Also the company has acquired a stake in popular social platform, Pinterest. Rakuten is the owner of online retailer Play.com. They have called the acquisition a “bold step” as they have tried to access consumers who are increasingly using their smartphones to access content over the Internet.
Viber, is a messaging app which offers free text messages and calls to smartphone users, is the latest purchase in Rakuten’s recent spending spree. The chairman and Chief Exec of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani said, “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.”
The Japanese company will pay $900m (£540m) for Viber. The founder of Viber, Talmon Marco, said: “Our vision is to be the world’s number one communications platform and our combination with Rakuten is an important step in that direction.” Viber has current competition with other messaging apps; Whatsapp, WeChat and Line. Viber has over 300 million registered users and operates in nearly 200 countries.
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