Rakuten, Japan’s top internet retailer, has bought its British counterpart Play.com for about £25 million (just short of €30 million). Play.com is one of the biggest British e-commerce sites, specialised in the sales of DVDs, CDs and books. The webshop hopes the takeover can help them expand into such areas as clothes and accessories.
Expanding in Europe
Play.com is not the first European acquisition made by Rakuten: the group has already taken over sites like PriceMinister from France and Tradoria from Germany and is also active in Europe through Buy.com. The international expansion is necessary for the Japanese retailer as it faces threats like population decrease and lower consumer spendings in its home market. The group tries to achieve that expansion not only through acquisitions, but also through joint ventures like the one with China’s main search engine Baidu.
Rakuten is currently active in over ten countries and employs more than 7000 people. Its newest acquisition Play.com is based on Jersey, technically not a member of the UK and not subject to British VAT rules.