Rakuten eyeing £580m deal for US voucher firm

Oliver Smith
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RAKUTEN, the Japanese e-commerce giant and owner of messaging app Viber and Play.com, is in the final stage of talks to buy US cashback shopping service Ebates in an estimated ¥100bn (£581.8m) transaction.

The takeover is expected to give Rakuten further exposure to the US market as part of the aggressive overseas expansion it has undertaken in recent years.

“It is true that Rakuten is negotiating the acquisition, but this has not been authorised,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.

“Once authorised, Rakuten will disclose in a timely and appropriate manner.”

Rakuten is expected to use the acquisition, if successful, to bolster its existing US presence with Buy.com by introducing a reward system for its e-commerce customers.

Rakuten employs a similar credit card-based rewards system already for its Japanese customers.

In February Rakuten also expanded into the global messaging app space when it bought Israeli-based smartphone messaging app Viber for $900m.

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