Rakuten, a Japanese online retail concern, has announced the purchase of 100 per cent of stock in Play.com for approximately £25 million, making it the third European e-commerce site acquired by the company.
Rakuten acquired French business PriceMinister in 2010 and German online retailer Tradoria in July of this year. As a whole, Rakuten operates online business in ten countries globally.
"The UK market is one of Europe's largest and most mature e-commerce markets. Play.com is not only a pioneer in the market, but also one of the UK's most successful e-commerce businesses," said Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.
"We aim to leverage our e-commerce strength and experience to further expand and develop Play.com's business model and channel its loyal user base, merchants, and deep product offerings into Rakuten's global e-commerce network."
The UK has the largest e-commerce market in Europe, with a value expected to exceed $58.0 billion and 55 million users by 2014.