Rakuten, the largest online shopping mall operator in Japan, has acquired e-reader manufacturer Kobo for $315 million in cash.
In the deal, Rakuten has bought 100 percent of all issued and outstanding shares of Kobo, which makes products that compete with Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle product lines.
Around fifty-eight percent of Kobo was owned by Indigo Books & Music, a Canadian retail bookstore chain. Indigo chief executive Heather Reisman said today that the acquisition puts her company’s balance sheet in fine shape.
In a conference call to discuss the deal, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani (pictured) said that while his company has created “a unique ecosystem” in Japan and internationally, “The e-commerce business is changing quite rapidly.