Japan’s Rakuten, the nation’s largest e-commerce company, and the third-largest in the world, has announced today that it has purchased Spain’s leading video on demand service Wuaki.tv. This acquisition marks the fist move for Rakuten to enter the Spanish market, increasing its global market. While Rakuten currently doesn’t have active business in the online video market, it does compete with the U.S.’s Amazon, and they are greatly increasing their online distribution of media.
What Rakuten could really be after are the partnership deals that Wuaki.tv already has with content providers and manufacturers of internet-connected televisions, much like Netflix does in the U.S. Founded in 2009, Wuaki.tv is based in Barcelona, and has agreements not just with European studios, but the majors in Hollywood as well. This makes the fourth European purchase for Rakuten, who also recently invested $100 million in the social network Pinterest.
The Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, commented in the announcement that Wuaki.tv’s technology and management team were highly valuable, and their business ambitions would be a great match with Rakuten, who is very interested in European video on demand services. Jacinto Roca, Wuaki.tv’s founder and CEO, says he saw the opportunity as a great way to expand their services and global reach, and working with another company with as much experience in internet services as Rakuten just seemed like the smartest move.