At a press conference in Tokyo today, Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc. (TYO:4755 ), confirmed reports that his company will acquire American online coupon firm Ebates . The ticker price comes in at JPY 105 billion (US$1 billion). Founded in 1998, Ebates offers coupons or cash-back incentives to drive online shopping. Stores register on Ebates and post coupon codes or cash-back terms. Shoppers registered at Ebates can then copy the coupon link, click on the product they want to buy, and make the purchase. For cash-back offers, Ebates will send the user a check four times a year or more.
Leading Japanese ecommerce firm Rakuten (TYO:4755 ) released a statement today admitting the company’s involvement in an acquisition bid for American online coupon firm Ebates . This comes after Nikkei reported on Saturday morning that Rakuten had nearly finalized a deal worth over JPY 100 billion (US$951 million). Ebates offers coupons or cash-back incentives to drive online shopping. Stores register on Ebates and post coupon codes or cash-back terms.
Internet service provider iiNet has purchased a 60 percent stake in privately-owned technology service provider Tech2 Group to bolster its IT support division. The transaction provides iiNet access to the Sydney-based Tech2 Group’s 650 staff and to the company’s operations in field and call centre technology, over the phone tech support, on-site home entertainment set-up, as well as infrastructure build, connection and installation services for the NBN.
FreeCharge, one of India’s hottest startups, has just acquired Preburn, a Bangalore-based offline app distribution network which has been in stealth mode. This is the second acquisition by Sequoia-backed FreeCharge, which allows users to recharge their prepaid mobile phones, direct-to-home satellite television connections, or data cards instantly, and rewards them with discount coupons. Like its acquisition of social wish-list Wishberg in July 2013, this too is an acquihire – acquisition of a startup where the acquirer is not interested in the startup’s product, technology or user base, but only in its employees.
TOKYO–Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank’s failed bid for T-Mobile marked a rare defeat for its brash billionaire founder, but few expect it to sideline a man intent on building “the world’s number-one company.” After years of scooping up companies big and small, Masayoshi Son’s voracious appetite for acquisitions hit a snag amid reports earlier this month that the firm’s U.S. unit had abandoned a US$32 billion offer for T-Mobile in the face of regulatory opposition.
NEW YORK: IBM said on Friday (Aug 15) that US authorities had cleared a US$2.3 billion (S$2.86 billion) deal allowing China-based Lenovo to take over its server unit after a national security review. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews takeovers which could have national security implications, notified IBM “of the successful conclusion of the committee’s review,” the company said in a statement.
PETALING JAYA: Information technology (IT) services and solutions provider Hitachi Sunway Information Systems Sdn Bhd has allocated RM50 million to RM100 million as seed fund for merger and acquisition activities in the next 12 months, said its group CEO and director Cheah Kok Hoong. “We’re looking at acquiring a variety of companies that can complement our business, it could be (companies related to) infrastructure and managed services (IMS) and end-to-end security solutions,” he told reporters at a press conference here yesterday.
Exclusive Networks Group today announced its acquisition of Sydney-headquartered WhiteGold Solutions, the leading independent value added distributor of IT security, networking, converged infrastructure and datacentre solutions for the Australia/New Zealand enterprise channel. The acquisition is the Group’s first outside EMEA reflecting the continuing success of its business model, and signalling its long-term strategy to expand operations throughout the Asia-Pacific market.
Travel booking titan Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) is making a big push for new users and revenue streams in Asia today with the A$703 million (US$659.5 million) acquisition of Australia-based Wotif Group (ASX:WTF). It runs a number of travel sites in the region, such as Wotif.com, Lastminute.com.au, Travel.com.au, LateStays, and GoDo.com.au (hat-tip to The Next Web). Wotif’s numerous sites will remain running under the auspices of US-based Expedia.
Hon Hai Group has purchased 2.45 million shares of SK C&C, a subsidiary of South Korea’s SK Group, representing a shareholding of 4.9%. Hon Hai published a report, stating that as a long-term investment, its subsidiary Best Leap Enterprises Limited acquired 2.45 million shares of SK C&C, with the price of KRW155,500 per share. The total trading value was KRW380.975 billion, which was about CNY2.34 billion.
Big data analytics innovator Mu Sigma, based in Chicago and Bangalore, has acquired the Singapore-based social media analytics firm Webfluenz. Mu Sigma, one of the most successful Indian tech startups, with a billion-dollar valuation, counts more than a quarter of Fortune 500 companies among its customers. Its USP is to conflate data from multiple sources – people and machines, processes and platforms – to help its clients make intelligent decisions in critical areas like risk, supply chain, and marketing. Mu Sigma employs over 3,000 decision scientists with experience across 10 verticals.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. recently made a purchase of 4.9 percent share in SK C&C Co. The Foxconn Technology Group unit, the largest in the company, is still looking to expand further. Hon Hai spent $377 million or 381 billion won for all the stocks from SK Holdings Co. That’s about 155,00 per share, according to Chairman Chey Tae-won. The Taiwanese multinational electronics seems to be bent on venturing into automation, cloud computing, as well as, electric cars. This could mean Foxconn no longer wants to depend on Apple as its main buyer or maybe the company still wants to grow.
Chinese media and entertainment group Enlight Media will invest about CNY385 million to acquire the animation company Bluearc Animation and the mobile game company Refeng Network. According to the company’s announcement, Enlight Media will invest CNY176 million to acquire a 51% stake in Refeng Network. After Refeng Network achieves its performance goals for the next three years, Enlight Media will acquire the remaining 49% stake. During the transaction, Refeng Network’s overall valuation reportedly reached CNY346 million. Refeng Network is mainly engaged in the development and operation of mobile Internet games.
Chinese web giant Tencent (HKG:0700) – now best known as being the maker of WeChat – announced today that it’s paying US$736 million for a 19.9 percent stake in 58.com (NYSE:WUBA), which is China’s answer to Craigslist. 58.com, which has 130 million monthly unique users, IPO’d last October. Tencent revealed today that 58.com’s listings will be integrated in some way with WeChat, the popular messaging app, as well as with Tencent’s QQ IM.
Yesterday, Alibaba and UCWeb jointly announced the former’s full acquisition of the latter, publicly calling it the biggest merger in the history of Chinese internet companies. Today, UCWeb founder and CEO Yu Yongfu gave an interview to foreign media to discuss his company’s role within Alibaba moving forward. While he remained vague about some of the details, here’s everything we’ve learned so far:
While many in the Chinese mobile games market see Tencent’s domination of distribution and publishing is almost inevitable, the other giant players in the market have other plans. In 2013, search giant Baidu spent $1.9 billion buying app distribution outfit 91 Wireless, and now ecommerce giant Alibaba – which is about to IPO in the US – has fully acquired UCWeb. It’s best known for its UC browser, which in China has spawn the UC 9Game platform, which provides a combination of Android app distribution and social interaction for players.
China’s biggest ecommerce company Alibaba will wholly-acquire the country’s biggest mobile browser maker UCWeb, according to a joint announcement made today. Alibaba will buy all the shares of UCWeb that it does not already own. UCWeb CEO Yu Yongfu will become part of Alibaba’s new strategic decision-making committee, and all 3,000 of UCWeb’s employees are now under the Alibaba umbrella as part of the “Ali UC mobile business group” (translation ours).
Hon Hai Group submitted a filing to Taiwan Stock Exchange which revealed that its subsidiary Ambit Microsystems Corporation will invest NTD11.64 billion to buy newly issued shares of Asia Pacific Telecom, a Taiwanese telecom carrier. The company may implement a merger with the latter in the future. Hon Hai said in the filing that Asia Pacific Telecom will issue 826.407 million new shares.
Rakuten Marketing, the digital marketing arm of Japanese conglomerate Rakuten, Inc., announced the acquisition of DC Storm, a British marketing analytics firm. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Founded in 2004, DC Storm has steadily grown over the past nine years and established local headquarters in Frankfurt (2008) and New York City (2013).