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Rakuten acquires Spanish VOD service Wuaki.tv

Tokyo-headquartered e-commerce giant Rakuten has acquired Spanish online video service Wuaki.tv for an unspecified amount, enabling it to enter the Spanish market directly for the first time.

Founded in 2009, Wuaki.tv is headquartered in Barcelona and offers premium content over the Internet directly to PCs and Smart TVs. The business has existing content distribution agreements with Hollywood majors as well as local studios, and partnership agreements with leading TV manufacturers to incorporate its technology into their televisions.

Following recent investments in e-commerce and social media platforms, the Wuaki.tv acquisition is described as a significant step forward in building out the Rakuten ecosystem, and marks the firm’s fourth European acquisition in two years.

“The Wuaki.tv management team and technology are both very strong, as is the number and strength of its relationships across the video and hardware industries,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten.

“We saw synergies in the ambition of both businesses to expand internationally while video-on-demand extends our digital goods offering. We also both believe the opportunity for video-on-demand services across Europe, as well as further afield, to still be in its infancy – particularly when looking at media consumption via mobile connected devices and eReaders.”

Rakuten ranks among the top 10 internet companies in the world, and its numerous online properties include flagship business-to-business-to-consumer e-commerce site Rakuten Ichiba – the largest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world’s largest by sales.

Its global presence has been reinforced through the recent acquisitions of eReader, Kobo, leading online marketplaces Buy.com (US), PriceMinister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria (now Rakuten Deutschland) and Play.com (UK), and investments in Pinterest, Ozon.ru and AHA Life.

Josep Mitjà recently told IP&TV News that the company is on track to reach over half a million registered users by the end of this year, and has seen its ARPU increase twentyfold since launching the service on connected TVs.

To watch the full video interview with Josep, please click here.

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