Entertainment etailer Play.com is on the verge of being bought by a major Japanese online investor as part of a rapid global expansion by the company.
Rakuten has entered into an agreement with Play.com to buy the brand for £25m, a deal which will be completed in early October.
The takeover follows two other significant European acquisitions by Rakuten in just over a year. In July 2010 it bought French ecommerce brand Price Minister, followed by German online shopping portal Tradoria in July this year.
It is understood that Rakuten will merge the operations of all three brands into a single international ecommerce platform. However the company did not comment on the details of its future plans.
Rakuten is seeking further European expansion and is likely to add more brands to its portfolio.
Rakuten chairman and chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani said: “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.
“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.”
Play.com, founded in 1998, is one of the UK’s largest online retailers. Based in Jersey, it currently employs about 500 staff.