Rakuten ropes in Japan Post as biggest shareholder in fight against Amazon

Photo: Reuters

Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc said on Friday it would sell an 8.32% stake to postal and banking giant Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd, deepening a logistics tie-up in the face of competition from rivals such as Amazon.com Inc.

Rakuten, which plunged to an operating loss in 2020, is under pressure on multiple fronts as it battles Amazon in e-commerce and takes on Japan’s cash-rich telcos with its own mobile network.

Rakuten is the best partner for us, as it has advanced digital technology,” Japan Post Holdings Chief Executive Hiroya Masuda told a news conference.

Friday’s deal makes Japan Post Holdings the biggest shareholder in Rakuten outside the founding Mikitani family. A former state-owned utility that was later privatised, the company has a presence on almost all Japanese high streets, with its postal unit, Japan Post, having around 24,000 post offices nationwide.

“As tech giants grow in power we’re combining our strength,” said Rakuten‘s chief executive, Hiroshi Mikitani.

Last year Rakuten acquired a 20% stake in Walmart Inc’s Japanese supermarket unit. It has had a partnership with the unit, Seiyu, since 2018.

This month, chat app operator Line merged with SoftBank’s internet business Yahoo Japan in a deal first announced in 2019.

Shares of both Rakuten and Japan Post rose in afternoon trade in Tokyo after Reuters and other media reported the tie-up.

Image Frame Investment, a unit of Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, will also take 3.65% in Rakuten through third-party allotment, according to a Rakuten‘s filing.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.