There have been whispers of acquisition reaching our inbox in the past few days and as we sought confirmation of the validity behind these rumors, Viber was indeed being purchased by Japanese company Rakuten, who owns Kobo e-readers and Play.com.
The acquisition gives Rakuten access to Viber’s 280 million users worldwide
The acquisition effectively gives Rakuten access to 280 million Viber users, roughly as many users as LINE and Skype and 130 million users less than WhatsApp. Rakuten 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.”
It’s not clear how this will impact Viber’s goals for the next year.
Viber is the latest in a number of acquisitions for Rakuten, which include Kobo in 2012 as well as Play.com. Needless to say, it’s going to be interesting to see how much of an impact Rakuten will have on Viber in the next year. The acquisition is planned to close at the end of March.