Rakuten, Inc. (Head office: Setagaya-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, Chairman, President and CEO: Hiroshi Mikitani, hereafter referred to as "Rakuten") and Gurunavi, Inc. (Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative director: Seiichiro Kubo, hereafter referred to as “Gurunavi”) announces that Rakuten, at the Board of Directors meeting held on May 10, 2019, and Gurunavi, at the Board of Directors meeting held today, both resolved to conclude a memorandum of understanding (hereinafter referred to as the “Memorandum”) to start discussions on strengthening the capital and business alliance between the two companies which has been progressing since July 2018.
1. Purpose and Reasons for Strengthening the Capital and Business Alliance
Rakuten and Gurunavi signed a capital and business alliance agreement in July 2018, whereby Rakuten acquired 4,677,600 shares (9.60% of the total number of issued shares) of Gurunavi in August. Also, collaboration between Rakuten Member IDs and Gurunavi Member IDs started from October 2018, and we have promoted our business alliance mainly in the field of online reservations, making it possible to earn Rakuten Super Points for Gurunavi's online reservations, etc. In addition, we have been promoting various collaborations in fields other than online reservations. As a result of these efforts, for Rakuten, the Rakuten ecosystem has begun to expand in the restaurant area. In addition, for Gurunavi, there has been an acceleration in the pace of expansion of the number of Gurunavi members and online reservations, leading to the improvement of the customer referral capability to member restaurants.
Consumer needs for online reservations and points in the food service market are increasing, and the methods of information search have diversified. Rakuten has seen further expansion of the Rakuten ecosystem in the eating out area, and Gurunavi is seeing comprehensive support that goes beyond the promotion of sales to restaurants, as well as improving the customer referral capability to member restaurants for the convenience of consumers. In order to accelerate the strengthening and expansion of the two companies' businesses, and in order to strengthen the business alliance as described below, we wish to further develop collaboration between the two companies, and to strongly promote the capital and business alliance, by the dispatch of Rakuten executives to Gurunavi, and to change Gurunavi's management system.