KOBO POSITIONED FOR INTERNATIONAL GROWTH AS ACQUISITON BY RAKUTEN CLOSES
eReading Company Posts Record Holiday Sales
TORONTO, Jan. 11, 2012 – Global eReading leader Kobo Inc. ("Kobo") today announced the successful acquisition of all its outstanding shares by Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755) ("Rakuten") for US $315 million. The acquisition has been completed following customary closing conditions, including approval under the Investment Canada Act. Kobo's management team will remain with the company, which will continue to be headquartered in Toronto.
The acquisition by Rakuten, one of the world's leading Internet service and e-commerce companies, provides Kobo with a strong growth opportunity to expand its footprint into new and expanding markets. The move comes as Kobo set new sales records this past holiday season:
· December 25th was Kobo's best day ever for eBook downloads, with several ebooks downloaded every second by readers in over 150 countries
· Kobo saw a 10-fold increase in new customers compared to the company's pre-holiday period
· Compared to last year's holiday season, eGifting increased by 500%, eReader sales and eBook sales more than doubled
· More than 1 million new Kobo users were added in December alone
"During this holiday season, Kobo has demonstrated strong sales and continued leadership within the competitive eReading market; we are very excited to complete the acquisition of Kobo and look forward in supporting its global expansion," said Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten. Beyond Kobo's established presence in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, the company also saw dramatic gains in the UK, France and Germany this holiday season."
"While the transformation to digital reading is well underway, it is still in its infancy. As a part of Rakuten, we will accelerate our growth internationally, bringing new products, a leading eReading experience and a world class catalogue to passionate readers everywhere," said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo Inc.
Kobo was founded in 2009 as a contender in the global eReading market. Since its inception, the company has become a fierce competitor in the marketplace with its family of innovative eReaders, global ebookstore, industry-leading social platform and a wide range of free eReading apps for smartphones, tablets, netbooks and desktop computers.
About Kobo Inc.
Kobo is a global eReading service with more than 2.5 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers – one of the largest eReading catalogues in the world. As part of its "Read Freely" philosophy, Kobo believes consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device and has attracted millions of readers from over 100 countries across the globe. Kobo has top-ranked eReading applications for iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows and MacOS, and is the eReading application of choice for leading tablet OEMs. Kobo eReaders, including the Kobo Touch and the newly launched Kobo Vox are available at leading retailers, including Indigo, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Future Shop, WHSmith, FNAC, Collins Booksellers and Whitcoull's. Kobo's innovative Reading Life is an industry-first comprehensive social eReading experience where Kobo users can earn awards simply for time spent reading and encouraging others. For more information on Kobo, and to download free eReading apps, visit www.kobo.com.
Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/group.