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MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
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Rakuten acquires Buy.com for $250 million

The combined companies will make up one of the largest online retail marketplaces worldwide.

By Kristen SchottPublished: May 19, 2010 09:05 AM

Aliso Viejo-based online retailer Buy.com is being purchased by Japan-based Rakuten's U.S. subsidiary for $250 million.

The deal is expected to create one of the largest online retail marketplaces worldwide, with more than 60 million products from about 35,000 merchants.

Rakuten, an Internet firm with sales totaling $3.2 billion in 2009, operates Japan's largest Internet marketplace through its business unit, Rakuten Ichiba, with more than 50 million products from more than 33,000 merchants. The company said the Buy.com acquisition is part of its global expansion plans.

"As we evaluated how to accelerate our global expansion," said Hiroshi Mikitani, founder, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, "it became clear that a partnership with Buy.com made perfect sense."

No changes are currently expected for Buy.com's management team. Buy.com will remain at its current headquarters and will operate as a division of Rakuten.
 
Buy.com, which has more than 14 million customers, offers about 11.5 million products such as consumer electronics; cell phones; books; games; apparel; and jewelry.

The company's mission is to "develop a destination site that stands for the best of online shopping," offering affordable products, background and other features, according to Neel Grover, CEO and president of Buy.com.

The firm "shares (Rakuten's) vision for the future of e-commerce – as a platform to give consumers the best value no matter their location, and to merge shopping with entertainment, and to help retailers build deep and lasting consumer relationships," added Mikitani.

In 2005, the firm expanded to the U.S. with its acquisition of LinkShare, a New York-based performance-marketing firm.

“Given Rakuten’s global success," said Grover, "their leadership and strengths will help take Buy.com to an entirely new level of competition in online retailing."

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