Japan’s Amazon Buys Kobo’s E-Reader Biz
With all the press around Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Apple’s iPad and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, it’s not hard to see why Kobo has been out of the headlines. There is also the little matter of the demise of Borders, the chain most closely tied to the e-reader manufacturer.
Now, however, Kobo is back in the news with the announcement that Japan’s answer to Amazon, Rakuten, has agreed to purchase Kobo for $315 million in cash. Rakuten, according to a press release to announce the deal, is one of the top three e-commerce sites on the planet.
Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, said in a statement, “We are very excited about this next step. Kobo provides one of the world’s most communal eBook reading experiences with its innovative integration of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter; while Rakuten offers Kobo unparalleled opportunities to extend its reach through some of the world’s largest regional e-commerce companies, including Buy.com in the US, Tradoria in Germany, Rakuten Brazil, Rakuten Taiwan, Lekutian in China, TARAD in Thailand, and Rakuten Belanja Online in Indonesia, and of course, Rakuten Ichiba in Japan.”
Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis told The Wall Street Journal, “This is not a one-country game. Two-thirds of the book market is outside North America. We’re going into countries where we will be number one.”
- Kobo sold to Japan’s Rakuten for $315 million – Reuters
- Rakuten to Acquire Kobo – Rakuten/Kobo/Business Wire
- Japan’s Rakuten to Acquire Maker of Kobo E-Reader – The Wall Street Journal
Discussion Questions: What do you think of Rakuten’s deal to acquire Kobo? What effect, if any, do you think it will have on the North American e-reader market?