TOKYO, June 17, 2010 -- Rakuten, Inc. ("Rakuten", JASDAQ: 4755) today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire PriceMinister S.A. ("PriceMinister"), the No. 1 online shopping destination in France. This acquisition is a significant step toward Rakuten's objective to create a global platform where consumers can enjoy shopping no matter where they are located, and to help merchants grow their online business.
Founded in 2000, PriceMinister provides customers with a guaranteed online shopping experience on its marketplace Priceminister.com which is the most visited e-commerce site in France accessed by over 11 million users per month. With more than 100,000 active sellers and over 21,000 merchants offering an extensive selection exceeding 160 million products, PriceMinister strives to provide a high-quality service to its approximately 12 million members. In addition to France, PriceMinister has established its marketplace business in Spain and the United Kingdom.
"We are delighted to join hands with PriceMinister which is a respected brand in France providing consumers with the best online shopping service," said Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten. "PriceMinister is led by an excellent senior management team and together we envision developing a global shopping platform."
The acquisition of 100% of PriceMinister's shares is valued at approximately €200 million and the closing is scheduled for July 2010.
"Rakuten has deep knowledge of how to build beneficial relationships with merchants and consumers and we see a huge opportunity for PriceMinister to grow even faster by combining our respective strengths. More specifically, Rakuten is a world expert in the BtoBtoC marketplace business model. They will help us introduce innovative tools tailored to meet a variety of needs of corporate sellers throughout Europe," said Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, Founder, Chairman and CEO of PriceMinister.
The French e-commerce market is one of the fastest growing in Europe. It is projected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 19.5% between 2009 and 2014 (Source: 2010 Euromonitor International). By leveraging Rakuten's expertise in empowering merchants and deploying sales campaigns, PriceMinister will strengthen its competitive advantage in the French market. Rakuten will also further develop its global network of e-commerce businesses by leveraging its presence in Asia, the U.S. and Europe.
As PriceMinister also operates highly successful businesses such as online travel price comparison and real estate classified sites, Rakuten intends to leverage these businesses for its international expansion strategy.
PriceMinister was advised by Arma Partners, Sangyo Sosei Advisory and Gide Loyrette Nouel.
Created in 2000 by Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, Pierre Krings, Justin Ziegler and Olivier Mathiot. Through http://www.priceminister.com, launched in January 2001, PriceMinister has become the European leader in Guaranteed Buying and Selling on the Internet. Today the PriceMinister Group consists of five business lines: Guaranteed Buying and Selling (marketplace), Automobile (classifieds), Travel (price comparison), Real estate (classifieds) and E-mail Marketing. PriceMinister is ranked No. 1 e-commerce site in France in terms of audience (Mediametrie Nielsen NetRatings) with about 12 million members and over 160 million products (June 2010).
In Japan, Rakuten has approximately 64 million registered members and sales in 2009 totaled US$3.2 billion. Its core business "Rakuten Ichiba" is Japan's largest Internet shopping mall and offers more than 58 million products by over 33,000 merchants, some of whom have turnover of more than US$1 million per month. In addition to its Internet shopping mall, Rakuten, which has more than 6,000 employees, is engaged in other Internet businesses such as travel agency and financial services.