The growing number of influential Weibo commentators are increasingly opening their own online shops or promoting products.
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Messer says the logistics of Rakuten’s more visible presence in the U.S. will be worked out over the next several months. "We think in one or two years people here will start to understand what Rakuten is, the way they do in Japan," he adds. "This is the first time we’ve heard about an Asian company coming to the U.S. to compete with Yahoo here."
A cool deal
Also in September, CoolSavings Inc. announced that it is going private. Landmark Communications, CoolSavings’ largest shareholder will pay 80 cents a share-$16.7 million-for all outstanding shares that it does not own.
Landmark has beneficial ownership of approximately 83% of CoolSavings’ common stock, if Landmark converted all of its Series B convertible preferred stock into common.
Under its agreement with the selling stockholders, Landmark will acquire 8.7 million shares of common stock and 12.1 million shares of Series C convertible preferred stock. After the sale, Landmark will hold 66.5% of common stock, 100% of Series B convertible preferred stock and 95% of Series C convertible preferred stock. Landmark says it intends to exercise its right to convert all of its outstanding shares of Series B convertible preferred stock to common stock, increasing Landmark`s ownership of CoolSavings’ common stock to 91.7%. At that point, Landmark will own more than 90% of each class of outstanding stock of CoolSavings.
Landmark is a privately-held media company which owns The Weather Channel, Weather.com and The Virginian-Pilot.