Rakuten Acquires Play.com for £25 Million

Japanese online services provider Rakuten has acquired UK based online retailer Play.com for £25 million.

Rakuten is a Japan based online services provider which offers services like e-commerce, banking and travel.

“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,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, the chairman and CEO of Rakuten.

“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,” he added.

This is the third acquisition made by Rakuten in Europe, after acquiring PriceMinister in France and Tradoria in Germany.

In what might have played an important part in the success of Channel Isles-based Play.com, the online DVD retailer was able to exploit a loophole in the tax laws enabling it to rake in more than £500 million in revenue per year. The loophole in tax laws allowed the retailer to sell DVDs, CDs and other goods available for less than £18 free of VAT to UK customers.