Rakuten Inc (TYO:4755) has acquired the mobile voice/messaging app Viber for $900 million. Viber has over 200 million users.
?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,? stated Rakuten chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.
Rakuten has been very active at acquiring U.S. based tech companies. Rakuten acquired Kobo for $315 million in 2011 and Buy.com for $250 million. Rakuten also led a $100 million round in Pinterest.
Viber is not yet making money. The company saw a net loss of $29.5 million last year with revenues of around $1.5 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Mikitani pointed out that Viber users would be able to easily sign up for Rakuten. Viber could end up making money for Rakuten through the sales of virtual stickers and mobile games.