Play.com sold to Japanese retail giant Rakuten for £25m

22/09/2011

Japanese company Rakuten has bought UK online retail giant Play.com for £25m. Play.com is one of the largest ecommerce firms in the UK, selling music, books, clothes and electronics to over 14 million registered users. The company said the purchase marked a "significant step" in its continued European and global expansion.

22/09/2011

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According to industry research, the UK's e-commerce industry is the largest in Europe and is expected to exceed £37bn and have 55 million online users by 2014.

Rakuten is the largest online retail operator in Japan and Play.com marks its third European acquisition, following moves for French site PriceMinister and German shopping portal Tradoria.

Rakuten now operates e-commerce businesses in 10 countries around the world, including its operations in Japan. It provides a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking and securities and employs 10,000 people worldwide.

"The UK market is one of Europe's largest and most mature e-commerce markets,” Rakuten chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani stated.

“Play.com is not only a pioneer in the market, but also one of the UK's most successful e-commerce businesses. We aim to leverage our e-commerce strength and experience to further expand and develop Play.com's business model and channel its loyal user base, merchants, and deep product offerings into Rakuten's global e-commerce network."

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