Rakuten to buy OverDrive for $410 million in e-content expansion
Asahi -- Mar 20
Internet services company Rakuten Inc. said it will pay up to $410 million (49.5 billion yen) in cash to buy OverDrive Holdings Inc., the U.S. operator of leading eBook and audiobook content marketplace OverDrive.

The acquisition of OverDrive, expected to close in April, will give the Japanese company's digital distribution platform more than 2.5 million titles. OverDrive's relationships with 5,000 publishers and 30,000 libraries will also strengthen Rakuten's eBook and digital contents businesses globally.

Digital content, along with e-commerce and finance, represents one of Rakuten's three key strategic pillars as it expands its global Internet services business.

"OverDrive is a widely respected pioneer in digital content and the sharing economy," Takahito Aiki, head of Rakuten's global eBook business, said in a statement released March 19. "(The company's) deep content library and relationships with publishers, libraries, schools and retailers will allow Rakuten to extend its mission of empowerment to new market segments and accelerate the growth of our digital contents businesses."

After acquiring e-reading company Kobo in 2012, Rakuten added video-streaming service Wuaki.tv in 2012 and global TV and video website Viki in 2013 to its digital contents businesses.

News source: Asahi
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