Kobo, makers of e-readers and e-reading apps, announced today that their sale to Rakuten has closed. Rakuten, based in Japan, is a major global marketplace, selling a wide variety of products around the world. The sale was first announced in early November.
The sale means that Kobo will have a new marketplace for its e-readers, something it desperately needed after Borders, its previous primary retail partner, went out of business. Though hardly one of the big names in the e-reader business, Kobo’s products are generally well-reviewed. Their products include a line of e-readers, as well as e-reading apps for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.
Kobo saw a remarkable surge during the 2011 holiday season. They gained over a million new users in December. New customers increased 10-fold compared to pre-holiday numbers. Meanwhile, this year saw a 500% increase in eGifting, and a doubling of sales eReaders and eBooks.
Michael Serbinis, Kobo’s CEO, said that the acquisition by Rakuten “will accelerate our growth internationally, bringing new products, a leading eReading experience and a world class catalogue to passionate readers everywhere.”[Source: Kobo Press Release]