October 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Rakuten makes new e-commerce investments

The Japanese e-commerce company that bought Buy.com for $250 million in 2010, continues to invest in North American and European e-commerce companies.

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Rakuten Inc., the Japanese e-commerce company that bought Buy.com for $250 million in 2010, continues to invest in North American and European e-commerce companies. Last month, its Rakuten LinkShare Corp. division, which provides affiliate marketing and search marketing services, announced plans to acquire mediaForge, a company that specializes in personalized online display ad campaigns. Rakuten LinkShare did not say what it will pay to acquire mediaForge.

Rakuten last month also led an investment round in Daily Grommet, an e-commerce site and marketing platform that sells unusual, gift-type products. Rakuten did not reveal the size of its investment. This follows Rakuten leading an investment round worth $100 million in social networking site Pinterest in May.

In June, it snapped up Spanish video streaming company Wuaki.tv for an undisclosed sum, the first time the Tokyo-based company had entered the Spanish market. Rakuten says it was attracted to Wuaki.tv because the Barcelona-based company has numerous content distribution agreements with Hollywood and local studios, and partnership agreements with TV manufacturers to incorporate its technology into their televisions.

It was the fourth European acquisition Rakuten made in the past two years. It also owns stakes in Germany-based Tradoria GmbH, France-based online marketplace PriceMinister, Russia-based online retailer Ozon.ru and U.K.-based e-retailer Play.com.

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

@ThadRueterIR

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