Viki is a global TV and video site that depends on its 22 million voluntary online fans to translate and subtitle the dialogues of primetime TV shows, movies and other video content. To date, Viki's community has provided subtitles in more than 160 languages. The company relies heavily on advertising against its video content for revenue.
The acquisition is part of Rakuten's strategy to beef up its digital content offerings and expand the scope of its $16 billion Internet services ecosystem. The move will also benefit Viki as it can now leverage Rakuten's registered users to grow its user base in Japan and Europe.
Hiroshi (Mickey) Mikitani, Rakuten chairman and CEO, said: "There are a striking number of synergies and shared philosophies between our two businesses. The Viki model is built on a community focused on removing the language barriers that have traditionally trapped great content inside geographical borders. Rakuten's focus too has been to open up great services, content and goods to a global community."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but US-based technology website AllThingsD reported the purchase price to be US$200 million, according to its sources.
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