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It seems the world has a new digital media M&A power player. Fresh from buying Play.com, Kobo and a piece of Pinterest, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is acquiring Spanish TV and movie streaming service Wuaki.tv.
Barcelona-based Wuaki.tv has content licenses from Hollywood and domestic movie and TV studios for DTO and rental access, offered over the internet and to connected TVs on which Wuaki.tv is present. A “Spanish Netflix” might be one short-hand description.
Rakuten already owned the e-commerce marketplaces Buy.com of the U.S., PriceMinister of France, Ikeda of Brazil and Tradoria of Germany. Last year, it acquired UK physical entertainment retailer Play.com and the Kobo e-reader and e-book store company.
And it recently invested in Russian marketplace Ozon, luxury shopping service AHA Life and led a $100 million investment in Pinterest with eyes on injecting social in to its commerce operations.
What does Rakuten want with video on-demand? Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani (via release):
“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.”
Wuaki.tv founding CEO Jacinto Roca (via release):
“We 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.”