November 12, 2012, 10:52 AM

Japan’s Rakuten buys a French e-commerce logistics provider

Alpha Direct Services serves more than 100 merchants and brands.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc. has bought Alpha Direct Services, a French company that provides online retailers such logistics-related services as order management, warehousing, fulfilment delivery and customer support. Rakuten, which did not disclose how much it paid for the company, says the deal is its sixth European acquisition since 2010 and the first purchase of a logistics provider outside of Japan.

Alpha Direct Services, founded in 2002 and owned by founder Adrian Diaconu and French venture capital fund FCDE, counts more than 100 merchants and brands as clients, including Nestle, L’Oreal and Sarenza, says Rakuten.

“Speed and quality of delivery is at the heart of any solid e-commerce proposition and ADS will give us a logistics stronghold in Europe, which will further empower merchants using Rakuten’s marketplaces, as well as supporting future marketplaces,” says Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten. “ADS’s management team, their proprietary warehouse automation technology and existing infrastructure have strong synergies with Rakuten’s e-commerce and logistics businesses, and will be invaluable as we continue our growth in Japan and globally.”

Rakuten owns Buy.com, No. 36 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. In September, Rakuten invested in Daily Grommet, which operates an e-commerce site featuring products it says are relatively unknown.

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