Japanese ecommerce 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 tieup 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 ecommerce and takes on Japans cashrich 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.
Fridays deal makes Japan Post Holdings the biggest shareholder in Rakuten outside the founding Mikitani family. A former stateowned 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 were combining our strength, said Rakutens chief executive, Hiroshi Mikitani.
Last year Rakuten acquired a 20 stake in Walmart Incs Japanese supermarket unit. It has had a partnership with the unit, Seiyu, since 2018.
This month, chat app operator Line merged with SoftBanks 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 tieup.
Image Frame Investment, a unit of Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd , will also take 3.65 in Rakuten through…