TOKYO and CAMBRIDGE, UK, September 21, 2011 -- Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755) and Play.com today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Rakuten will acquire UK e-commerce site Play.com for approximately 25 million pounds sterling (approx. 3.3 billion yen) in cash. The agreement has been approved by the board of directors of Rakuten.
The acquisition represents a significant step in Rakuten’s continued European and Global expansion and marks the company’s third acquisition in Europe, joining French e-commerce pioneer PriceMinister, acquired in 2010, and the rapidly expanding German online shopping mall, Tradoria, which joined the Rakuten Group in July of this year. Rakuten now operates e-commerce businesses in ten countries globally, including Japan.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, commented on the acquisition, “The UK market is one of Europe’s largest and most mature e-commerce markets. Play.com is not only a pioneer in the market, but also one of the UK’s most successful e-commerce businesses. We aim to leverage our e-commerce strength and experience to further expand and develop Play.com’s business model and channel its loyal user base, merchants, and deep product offerings into Rakuten’s global e-commerce network.”
The UK’s e-commerce industry is the largest in Europe and is expected to exceed $58.0 billion by 2014, by which time it is expected to have 55.0 million online users.*
*Source: Euromonitor, Forrester Research, Mastercard, World Bank
Method of Acquisition
Rakuten will purchase 100% of outstanding Play.com stock from its current shareholders.
Cost of Stock Acquisition
Stock acquisition costs will total approx 25 million pounds sterling (Approx. 3.3 billion yen), which will be covered by cash on hand.
Closing date: Early October 2011 (tentative date)
Play.com is one of the UK’s largest online retailers, with 14 million registered users and 7 million listed products. The company sells a wide range of goods, from music and books to electronics, clothing, and accessories. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Jersey, British Isles, the company has grown to employ approximately 500 dedicated staff, who have built Play.com into one of the most satisfying online shopping experiences in the UK*. In 2009, Play.com launched a branded credit card connected to its PlayPoints rewards program. PlayTrade is Play.com’s growing marketplace platform.
*National Consumer Satisfaction Index (http://www.ncsiuk.com/index.php)
Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), is one of the world’s leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal & media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/group.