June 13, 2012, Barcelona and Tokyo - Rakuten, the world's
third largest e-commerce company, today announced it acquired
Spanish streaming and video on demand business, Wuaki.tv. The
acquisition will see Rakuten further extend its global reach
as it enters the Spanish market for the first time.
Founded in 2009, Wuaki.tv is headquartered in Barcelona and
offers premium content over the Internet directly to Smart
TVs. The business has existing content distribution
agreements with Hollywood majors as well as local studios,
and partnership agreements with leading TV manufacturers to
incorporate its technology into their televisions.
Following recent investments in e-commerce and social media
platforms, the Wuaki.tv acquisition represents a significant
step forward in building out the Rakuten ecosystem and marks
the business' fourth European acquisition in just two years.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, explained the
strategy behind the acquisition: "The Wuaki.tv management
team and technology are both very strong, as is the number
and strength of its relationships across the video and
hardware industries. We saw synergies in the ambition of both
businesses to expand internationally while video on demand
extends our digital goods offering. We also both believe the
opportunity for video on demand services across Europe, as
well as further afield, to still be in its infancy -
particularly when looking at media consumption via mobile
connected devices and eReaders."
Jacinto Roca, founder and CEO of Wuaki.tv, comments:
"We are already seeing a significant uptake of services due
to increasing numbers of connected TVs and mobile connected
devices and believe that, ultimately, online video will
replace traditional pay-for-TV services. This agreement will
allow us to expand the successful Wuaki.tv offering, both in
terms of services and geographical reach."
Video on demand uptake was a hot topic at the recent Cannes
Film Festival, with analyst firm, Screen Digest, declaring
that the market opportunity remains significant for the wider
industry, particularly outside of the US.*
Rakuten ranks among the top 10 internet companies in the
world. Among its numerous online properties, its flagship
B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model e-commerce
site Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japan
and among the world's largest by sales. Its global
presence has been reinforced through the acquisitions of
eReader, Kobo, leading online marketplaces Buy.com (US),
PriceMinister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria
(now Rakuten Deutschland) and Play.com (UK), and investments
in Pinterest, Ozon.ru and AHA Life. Whereas other
marketplaces may compete directly with sellers, Rakuten's
model seeks to empower merchants to deliver Omotenashi, a
Japanese high service mindset, which helps sellers create
lasting relationships with customers.
*Richard Broughton, head of broadband for IHS Screen Digest,
said that the American VOD market for feature films topped
$1.8 billion in 2011, whereas Western Europe delivered just
Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755), is one of the world's
leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of
consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce,
eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money,
portal and media, online marketing and professional sports.
Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations
throughout Asia, Western Europe, the Americas, and Oceania.
Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over
10,000 employees and partner staff worldwide.http://global.rakuten.com/group