Viber, an app that gained global popularity by letting its users make voice calls over data, has been acquired by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten, Inc.
“The Company will acquire Viber for a total consideration of $900 million and will hold 100% of Viber’s outstanding voting stock and underwrite a new issue of shares,” a release from the Japanese company said.
Rakuten said the company decided to acquire Viber to strengthen its global platform through the use of Viber’s range of customers in the company’s E-commerce and digital contents services. Viber has 280 million global registered users and 100 million monthly active users.
Rakuten has e-commerce interests in at least four continents and has clearly stated ambitions to become the “no. 1 Internet services company in the world”.
Acquiring one of the top messaging apps in the world, is clearly a step in consolidating the two users bases. In fact, South Korea’s Kakao talk, one of the most monetised messaging apps in the world, is also a succesful e-commerce platform. It seems Rakuten seems to have been inspired by the success of the this company from its neighbourhood.
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Viber has over 16 million users in India and the company has goals of doubling its user base here by the end of this year. But off late the company has not been doing all that well with players like Whatsapp, Line and WeChat all adding voice to their messaging platforms. Viber still has an edge over other platforms due to its ability to be accessed from all devices and operating systems.