Japanese online specialist Rakuten, which runs a major e-commerce site in Japan as well as operating the Kobo eBook reader and Play.com brands, has acquired mobile messaging and VoIP company Viber.
The deal is worth $900 million (£538 million).
Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten’s Chairman and CEO, 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.”
Viber has attracted around 300 million registered users since launching in 2010. Customer numbers grew by over 120% in 2013.