Japanese e-Retailer Buys Popular Messaging App Viber for $900 Million

Japanese e-Retailer Buys Popular Messaging App Viber for $900 Million
Image credit: viber.com
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a blockbuster move that bodes well for businesses in the messaging space, Viber has been acquired by Tokyo-based internet retailer Rakuten Inc. in an all cash deal worth $900 million.

Viber is among the most downloaded phone and messaging apps in the world and boasts a user base of 300 million with most of its users in the United States, Australia and Russia.

Related: Yahoo Picks Up Social Diary Startup for a Reported $10 Million

With the recent unveiling of Viber Out, users can make voice calls to other users as well as unregistered phones. That puts Viber into direct competition with Skype and puts it into a league that Line and WeChat haven’t hit yet.

In addition to more than doubling its 200 million users, Rakuten, the sixth largest e-commerce company in the world by sales, expects the messaging service to complement its existing business. Billionaire cofounder and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani says customers could potentially use the service to get in touch with a merchant before making a purchase. Mikitani says this added personalization will be what puts Rakuten above competitors like eBay and Amazon.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of March.

Related: Japan Proposes 'Super-Maglev' Train Connecting Baltimore to D.C. in 15 Minutes

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Starting, buying, or growing your small business shouldn’t be hard. Guidant Financial works to make financing easy for current and aspiring small business owners by providing custom funding solutions, financing education, and more.

Latest on Entrepreneur