Popular messaging app Viber is changing ownership, as Japanese company Rakuten has offered $900 million (€657.4 million) for it.Rakuten hopes that Viber will help it expand its digital content into emerging markets. The company also owns e-reader Kobo.
Viber, the app that enables anyone to place free calls and send text messages from a mobile phone, has about 300 million registered users.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten’s top exec, reasoned that Viber would help the company reach a new level. Furthermore, buying an already successful app is a lot easier than developing a messaging system on its own.
Talmon Marco, Viber’s CEO and founder, said that this was also an opportunity for the messaging app to reach new users and to accelerate its user growth even more.
“Sharing similar aspirations with Rakuten, our vision is to be the world’s number one communications platform, and our combination with Rakuten is an important step in that direction,” said Marco.