By Karen Moss
Rakuten, the world’s third largest e-commerce company, has acquired Spanish streaming and video on demand business, Wuaki.tv. The acquisition will see Rakuten further extend its global reach as it enters the Spanish market for the first time.
Founded in 2009, Wuaki.tv is headquartered in Barcelona and offers premium content over the Internet directly to 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 represents a significant step forward in building out the Rakuten ecosystem and marks the business’ fourth European acquisition in just two years.
Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, says: “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. 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.”
Jacinto Roca, founder and CEO of Wuaki.tv, comments: “We are already seeing a significant uptake of services due to increasing numbers of connected TVs and mobile connected devices and believe that, ultimately, online video will replace traditional pay-for-TV services. This agreement will allow us to expand the successful Wuaki.tv offering, both in terms of services and geographical reach.”