May 21, 2010 First off, congrats to the hard working teams at Buy.com (a personal shout out to Randy!) While there will likely be a lot of changes, Buy.com is merging with an e‑commerce juggernaut in Asia and based on what I’ve been reading the purchase was strategic (more below). It’s great to see hard work and determination pay off, so hats off to the Buy.com team! This is an acquisition that you should pay attention to for a number of reasons. 1. Buy.com was in “co-opetition” with Amazon.com and eBay.com. They were a major seller on Amazon and eBay, and Buy.com was a growing U.S. online shopping destination. 2. Third party sellers were a major contributor to Buy.com and there is no doubt Rakuten is valuing this asset. This will be the focus of this blog post. 3. Rakuten is clearly looking at the U.S. marketplace. Looks like the U.S. just got a major new participant in the B2C e‑commerce space and with deep pockets of approximately $9.5B, a keen focus on B2C and a lot of interesting puzzle pieces like a Linkshare (the major affiliate exchange), Rakuten+Buy is looking to be a major player shortly. Overall, this is going to be a good thing for the U.S. marketplace. Here are a few links that you should check out for more info.
- The best is Scott Wingo’s blog over at eBay Strategies. Rakuten acquires Buy.com This is the post to read if you want context and insight into this purchase as Scott Wingo has some great field vision into the players and the impact of this deal. His insight into Rakuten’s business is a must read!
- Techcrunch coverage with good numbers and a Techcrunch 2009 article comparing Rakuten to Amazon Japan calling it “the biggest e‑commerce company you’ve never heard of.”
- Venturebeat coverage has numbers and a bit of history on Buy and Rakuten.
- The seller marketplace grew 150%: The CEO thanks the sellers for expanding their product listings. “As we move into 2010 and beyond, Buy.com has transformed from an online retailer with marketplace functionality, to a multi-category retail marketplace platform,” said Buy.com CEO and President Neel Grover. “We firmly believe that our marketplace platform is the future of online retail.”
- On the blog post about the acquisition here: “As we evaluated how to accelerate our global expansion, it became clear that a partnership with Buy.com made perfect sense,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten. “As a company, Buy.com shares our vision for the future of ecommerce – as a platform to give consumers the best value no matter their location, and to merge shopping with entertainment, and to help retailers build deep and lasting consumer relationships.”