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Rakuten Buys Ebook And Audiobook Platform OverDrive For $410M

March 19, 2015

TechCrunch

Rakuten is beefing up its digital content chops after it announced the acquisition of ebook and audiobook marketplace OverDrive for $410 million.

The Japanese e-commerce giant got into the e-reader game when it picked up hardware maker Kobo for $315 million in 2011. It stands to reason then that U.S.-based OverDrive, which was founded way back in 1986 and offers over 2.5 million titles from more than 5,000 publishers today, will be put to work providing greater choice and reading material for Kobo owners.

“OverDrive’s deep content library and relationships with publishers, libraries, schools, and retailers will allow Rakuten to extend our mission of empowerment to new market segments and accelerate the growth of our digital contents businesses,” said Takahito Aiki, Head of Rakuten’s global eBook business, in a canned statement.

Interestingly, Rakuten claimed that the addition of OverDrive — which is expected to close next month — will push its eBook business “close to…

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