Asian online companies are developing offline interests. Alibaba recently acquired a majority share in Chinese football team Guangzhou Evergrande this summer, and now Rakuten has bought all shares of Crimson Football Club Inc., the company which runs Japan Football League (J-League) club team Vissel Kobe, and will take part in the management of the club. The deal amount is still undisclosed however, it is expected to be closed before the end of the year.
The Japanese e-commerce firm has been Vissel Kobe’s sponsor since 2004 and this move is expected to strengthen the operational base of Vissel Kobe by carrying out efficient marketing and other activities.
Rakuten has diversified into a number of different areas – In September it acquired US based cashback-shopping site operator, Ebates in an all cash deal for USD 1 billion. This year itself, it has made deals such as Viber (acquisition, USD 900 M), Slice (acquisition) and AirAsia (tie up). Earlier, it had acquired companies such as Kobo for USD 250 million in 2012 and Buy.com for USD 250 million in 2010.