E-commerce business Rakuten has agreed to buy electronic book (e-book) retailer Kobo for $315 million (£197 million).
E-commerce business Rakuten has agreed to buy electronic book (e-book) retailer Kobo for a total of $315 million (£197 million).
Spun out of Canadian book, gift and speciality toy retailer Indigo in December 2009, Kobo’s electronic product and book apps are in direct competition with Amazon’s popular Kindle e-book reader.
The global e-book market is one of the fastest growing segments of the consumer technology industry, with the market size expected to grow to reach $10.6 billion by 2015, according to a statement from the company.
Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and chief executive officer of Japan-based Rakuten, comments: ‘Kobo provides one of the world’s most communal e-book reading experiences with its innovative integration of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter: while Rakuten offers Kobo unparalleled opportunities to extend its reach through some of the world’s largest regional e-commerce companies.’
Kobo announced in September that its apps for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and its own e-reader would have tighter Facebook integration, so that users can connect with friends on Facebook and see what books they are reading.
It has e-reading applications for Windows, Mac OS X, the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices.
Under the terms of the deal, Kobo will continue to have its headquarters, management team and employees in Toronto, Canada.
Kobo chief executive Michael Serbinis says the deal is a ‘perfect match’ from a business and cultural perspective.
He adds: ‘We share a common vision of creating a content experience that is both global and social. Rakuten is already one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, while Kobo is the most social e-book service on the market. This transaction will greatly allow us to diversify quickly into other countries and e-commerce categories.’