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Japan’s Rakuten buys cash-back e-commerce firm Ebates for $1BN

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The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is shelling out $1 billion for the U.S. cash-back site Ebates, a 15-year-old business that claims 2.5 million active members and 2,600 merchants in its network. According to a Tuesday statement from the ivory trader (at least it’s not selling whale meat anymore), Ebates is a natural fit for Rakuten’s own membership-based “online shopping mall”, and the combination will “give birth to an attractive and innovative membership-based marketplace for consumers featuring a point program at the core.” Rakuten’s shares fell when the takeover was rumored, with investors reportedly wary of another pricey purchase – the firm also paid $900 million for messaging platform Viber in February.