Japanese ecommerce specialists Rakuten are purchasing ebook retailer Kobo for $315 million.
Rakuten recently purchased UK ecommerce site Play.com and owns Buy.com in the U.S.
In the UK Kobo’s ebook readers are sold via WHSmith.
The ebook retailer also offers books via apps for the iPad, iPhone and Android powered devices.
Kobo offers ebooks both via ‘the cloud’ which are downloaded instantly to its readers and apps and as downloadable ePUB fils which can be loaded onto to compatible devices.
In a statement Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said: “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.”
Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said: “We share a common vision of creating a content experience that is both global and social. Rakuten is already one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, while Kobo is the most social eBook service on the market and one of the world’s largest eBook stores with over 2.5 million titles.
“This transaction will greatly strengthen our position in our current markets and allow us to diversify quickly into other countries and e-commerce categories.”
Kobo says it will retain its Canada headquarters and staff following completion of the deal.