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CEO Weekends: Viber Acquired for $900 Million


Rakuten Inc, an Internet services company has acquired Viber, messaging and VoIP company for $900 million, as the firm leaps into the digital content space with Kobo,, and Viki acquisitions.

Viber CEO and Founder, Talmon Marco said,“ This combination presents an amazing opportunity for Viber to enhance our rapid user growth in both existing and new markets. 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 will help the firm shift from traditional content and communications platforms to mobile applications, with its rapidly growing global user base of 300 million registered users to make Rakuten the world’s No.1 Internet services company. Viber will enable Rakuten to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings, in combination with its e-commerce and financial services platforms. It’s fun approach to messaging and high quality VoIP services will help Rakuten’s digital content offerings and its “Shopping is Entertainment” approach to be the most visisted online platform and unlock new markets for Viber through Rakuten Group’s roughly 225 million global members.

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Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, said, “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.”

The firm says Viber’s multi-platform application adoption is impressive with significant growth reaching 300 million registered users, growing over 120% in 2013.

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In 2012 Rakuten acquired Kobo Inc., an eReading services firm with over 4 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to customers in 190 countries and, an innovative Europe-based video-on-demand and streaming service, set to expand across Europe.  last year the firm Rakuten acquired borderless digital content platform, Viki, which now reaches 65% of its 30 million monthly users through mobile devices.


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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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