New shareholders inject $2.2bn into Rakuten to boost mobile and logistics
Japanese technology company Rakuten, which has launched a cloud-based 5G network, has raised 242 billion yen (US$2.2 billion) by selling stakes to Japan Post, Tencent and Walmart.
Rakuten, which is mainly an e-commerce company, said that Japan Post will buy 8.3%, Tencent 3.6% and Walmart 0.9%.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten’s founder, chairman and CEO, told CNBC this morning that his company is “growing very fast — even at this size — and we need more capital for the growth”. Rakuten’s shares rose 24% on the news.
According to CNBC and Reuters, Rakuten will spend the new funds both logistics — to boost its e-commerce offer — and mobile, to allow Rakuten Mobile to compete with KDDI, NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank.
Rakuten Mobile launched its fully virtualised service last October, offering 4G and 5G using open radio access network (open RAN) technology.
Rakuten Mobile said last year that it had made it a priority to do away with complex terms and conditions, offering a single service plan “that is simple, intuitive and easy-to-understand for all customers, whether they are in Japan or travelling internationally”.
The plan – called Rakuten Un-Limit 2.0 – was launched in April 2020 and it offers subscribers unlimited data when connected to the Rakuten Mobile network, and unlimited calls through its communications app Rakuten Link.
According to Reuters the Rakuten group’s market cap was the equivalent of $19.4 billion this morning after the rise in the share price.