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Rakuten to sell 8% stake to Japan Post in Amazon battle

03/12/2021 | 05:05am EDT
The logo of Rakuten is pictured at the headquarters of Rakuten in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc said on Friday it would sell an 8.32% stake to postal and banking giant Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd, deepening a logistics tie-up in the face of competition from rivals such as Amazon.com Inc.

Rakuten, which plunged to an operating loss in 2020, is under pressure on multiple fronts as it battles Amazon in e-commerce and takes on Japan's cash-rich telcos with its own mobile network.

"Rakuten is the best partner for us, as it has advanced digital technology," Japan Post Holdings Chief Executive Hiroya Masuda told a news conference.

Friday's deal makes Japan Post Holdings the biggest shareholder in Rakuten outside the founding Mikitani family, and is part of a 242-billion-yen ($2.2-billion) share sale to companies including Tencent and Walmart.

A former state-owned utility that was later privatised, Japan Post Holdings has a presence on almost all Japanese high streets, with its postal unit having around 24,000 post offices nationwide.

"As tech giants grow in power we're combining our strength," said Rakuten's chief executive, Hiroshi Mikitani.

This month, chat app operator Line merged with SoftBank's internet business Yahoo Japan in a deal first announced in 2019.

Shares of both Rakuten and Japan Post rose in afternoon trade in Tokyo after Reuters and other media reported the tie-up.

Image Frame Investment, a unit of Chinese tech giant Tencent, will take 3.65% in Rakuten through third-party allotment, with Walmart also to buy shares.

Last year Rakuten acquired a 20% stake in Walmart's Japanese supermarket unit. It has had a partnership with the unit, Seiyu, since 2018.

($1=109.0900 yen)

(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa, Sam Nussey, Tim Kelly and Noriyuki Hirata; Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Clarence Fernandez)

By Takashi Umekawa and Sam Nussey


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMAZON.COM, INC. -7.56% 3327.59 Delayed Quote.2.17%
JAPAN POST HOLDINGS CO., LTD. -0.63% 929.1 End-of-day quote.15.73%
RAKUTEN GROUP, INC. -2.59% 1203 End-of-day quote.21.03%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. -2.61% 6837 End-of-day quote.-15.15%
TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED -2.64% 479 End-of-day quote.-15.07%
Z HOLDINGS CORPORATION -2.25% 546.5 End-of-day quote.-12.48%
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Financials
Sales 2021 588 B 91 057 M 91 057 M
Net income 2021 148 B 22 888 M 22 888 M
Net cash 2021 117 B 18 066 M 18 066 M
P/E ratio 2021 26,1x
Yield 2021 0,40%
Capitalization 3 790 B 587 B 587 B
EV / Sales 2021 6,24x
EV / Sales 2022 5,06x
Nbr of Employees 89 228
Free-Float 62,4%
Chart TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED
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Tencent Holdings Limited Technical Analysis Chart | 700 | KYG875721634 | MarketScreener
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 52
Last Close Price 398,20 CNY
Average target price 605,92 CNY
Spread / Average Target 52,2%
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Managers and Directors
Hua Teng Ma Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Chi Ping Lau President & Executive Director
Shek Hon Lo Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
Chen Ye Xu Chief Information Officer
Yu Xin Ren COO & President-Interactive Entertainment Group
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