Rakuten Acquires OverDrive For $410M

By Dianna Dilworth 

Rakuten, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, has revealed plans to acquire OverDrive Holdings, a leading library eBook and audiobook distribution company in the U.S., for $410 million in cash.

Rakuten, often referred to as “Amazon of Japan,” purchased Canadian eBook firm Kobo in 2012 in a move to beef up its global eBook offerings. This new acquisition helps Rakuten beef up this eBook business. The deal brings Rakuten a digital distribution platform with more than 2.5 million titles, as well as relationships with 5,000 publishers and 30,000 libraries.

“OverDrive is a widely-respected pioneer in digital content and the sharing economy. Long before even Kobo emerged onto the global stage, OverDrive had already seen the future and was working with publishers to digitize their content to share with the world, building one of the most comprehensive online digital marketplaces in the process,” Takahito Aiki, Head of Rakuten’s global eBook business said in a statement.

“OverDrive’s deep content library and relationships with publishers, libraries, schools, and retailers will allow Rakuten to extend our mission of empowerment to new market segments and accelerate the growth of our digital contents businesses,” he continued.