Rakuten to Sell U.S. E-Book Distribution Unit

Economy

Tokyo, Dec. 25 (Jiji Press)--Major Japanese cybermall operator Rakuten Inc. <4755> said Wednesday it will sell OverDrive Holdings Inc., a wholly owned U.S. unit offering electronic book distribution services.

Rakuten will sell all outstanding shares of the Ohio-based subsidiary, which provides e-books to libraries and educational institutions, to a U.S. investment fund at the end of January next year.

Rakuten did not disclose the value of the deal. The company said it plans to book some 40 billion yen in proceeds from the sale in January-March 2020.

In 2015, Rakuten acquired OverDrive for approximately 50 billion yen. It intended to make Rakuten Kobo Inc., a unit selling e-books to individuals, to collaborate with OverDrive, but apparently failed to achieve significant coordination effects.

Rakuten said it decided on the sale as part of its efforts to optimize the allocation of the Rakuten group's management resources.

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