Owner Kobo buys calling app Viber for 650 million euros

The owner of e-reader maker Kobo takes over the calling app Viber for 650 million euros. The Israeli company claims its calling app has about 300 million registered users, 100 million of whom are actively using the service.

With the acquisition, the Japanese company Rakuten wants to gain a stronger position in the mobile market in western countries. Rakuten wants to make money from Viber by selling ‘stickers’ and as a game platform. Viber is a calling app that, just like WhatsApp, reads the contact list to see which contacts also use the service. The app has been around since 2011.

Rakuten puts 650 million euros on the table for the purchase of Viber. It was rumored earlier this week that Viber would be acquired for around 200 million euros. Whether that information came earlier from the negotiation process or was incorrect is unclear. There is a chance that the 200 million euros will be in cash and the rest in shares, but Rakuten is not making any statements about this.

In addition to Kobo, Rakuten has acquired other companies in recent years, including Wuaki. It is not clear whether and when users will notice something from the takeover.