As I’m sure you’ve already heard, Rakuten recently announced their pending acquisition of Ebates. The deal will cost Rakuten $1 billion in cash in exchange for 100 percent of Ebates’ outstanding voting stock.
This acquisition is part of a large global ecommerce strategy, which kicked off in 2005 with their purchase of Linkshare. Rakuten has been extremely hungry:
Rakuten purchases Linkshare affiliate network
Acquisition of Kobo (Canadian ebook reader), investment in pinterest, acquisition of Wuaki.tv (Spanish video service), acquisition of Alpha Direct Services (French online retail delivery company), and moved into online retail in Austria, Canada, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand. Rakuten also expanded its business into travel though multiple countries, and started a golf tee times business.
LinkShare owned Rakuten acquired mediaFORGE a display advertising company.
Rakuten has a deal to purchase Ebates.
An attempt to beat Amazon, or a larger goal in sight?
Rakuten has been buying companies regularly for the past 9 years, concentrating in ecommerce, advertising for ecommerce, analytics, logistics, and fulfillment for ecommerce. Many believe this spree of purchases in an attempt to beat Amazon in online retail, but it seems to be a much more comprehensive strategy.
This company is building a portfolio of offerings that encompass all aspects of ecommerce and should be watched closely. Although currently small when compared to Amazon, if the can find synergy among the varied brands they will quickly become Goliath.