Play.com is one of the UK’s largest online retailers with 14 million users and about 7 million products for sales – ranging from DVDs, to electronics, to clothing, and one of Amazon.co.uk’s major competitors. Rakuten, although a relatively unknown company in the UK is Japan’s largest ecommerce site and over the past couple of years has become a global player having acquired PriceMinister (France), Tradoria (German), Ikeda (Brazil), and Buy.com (US) over the past couple of years. It is also part of a consortium that invested $100 million in Russia’s leading online retailer, Ozon.ru, earlier this month, and owns affiliate network Linkshare.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, commented on the acquisition:
The UK market is one of Europe’s largest and most mature e-commerce markets. Play.com is not only a pioneer in the market, but also one of the UK’s most successful e-commerce businesses. We aim to leverage our e-commerce strength and experience to further expand and develop Play.com’s business model and channel its loyal user base, merchants, and deep product offerings into Rakuten’s global e-commerce network.
I’ve always had a personal affinity for Play.com since their days of being Play247 and being amazing at customer service. I remember having a little complaint about their shopping basket system, and got a reply directly from their head of development saying he agreed, thanking me for my suggestion, and letting me know an ETA on implementation. perfect customer service for the geek inside me – and I hope this acquisition won;t change that.