Japan-based e-commerce giant Rakuten on Friday agreed to acquire 100% of OTT voice and messaging firm Viber for $900 million.
Rakuten said buying the popular service provider will strengthen its strategy of expanding into digital content services.
"The company aims to be the global number one Internet services company, and in addition to our existing e-commerce and Internet finance services, this acquisition will allow the company to build on several digital content services, and advance into new markets," said Rakuten, in a statement.
Anyone who remembers eBay's ill-fated acquisition of Skype will know that e-commerce players and VoIP providers do not always make the perfect match.
However, Rakuten does not just do online shopping.
In addition to its core e-commerce business, Rakuten has a controlling stake in Fusion Communications, which operates broadband and corporate mobile services.
Rakuten also offers a whole host of Web services, from marketing and advertising to recipe browsing and online golf course reservations. It also operates credit card payment services, life insurance, and m-payment services. It even owns a professional baseball team, the Rakuten Eagles.
"Viber's fun approach to messaging and high quality VoIP services is a perfect marriage with Rakuten’s Internet service offerings," said Rakuten.