Japan's Rakuten acquires Israeli tech company Viber for $900 millionFeb. 16, 2014
Japanese Internet services company Rakuten on Friday acquired Israel-founded company Viber Media for $900 million.
The company, which is officially registered in Cyprus but was founded by Israelis and maintains a development center here, boasts 300 million registered users, who use the program to make calls and send texts to others using mobile data plans or WiFi. For people with limited minutes and text messages on their mobile plans, that can be a major saver, though the app has run afoul of several mobile companies as a result.
“Viber understands how people actually want to engage and have built the only service that truly delivers on all fronts. This makes Viber the ideal total consumer engagement platform for Rakuten, as we seek to bring our deep understanding of the consumer to vast new audiences through our dynamic ecosystem of Internet services,” Rakuten chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said.
The company was founded in 2010 by four Israelis: Talman Marco, Igor Megzinik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha.
Because Viber is registered abroad, however, Israel will not receive direct tax revenues from its sale. In 2013, tax inflows from large exits from companies such as Waze helped push down the state’s deficit.
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