Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has made another European acquisition after it bought up French logistics firm Alpha Direct Services (ADS) in an undisclosed deal [PDF] that it says will bolster its global Web retail businesses, which includes France-based PriceMinister – bought in 2010 for $255 million.
The deal, which represents its first investment in a logistics firm outside of its native Japan, is its sixth European acquisition since 2010 and Rakuten says that benefits from ten-year-old ADS’s technologies will soon be felt across Europe, and even wider global markets like Japan.
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“The company has the potential to quickly scale beyond France into wider Europe. Markedly, from a retail service perspective, the acquisition will allow merchants to capitalize on same day delivery in Paris and next day delivery across Europe,” the firm said in a press statement.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, further explained the strategy behind the deal, saying:
“Speed and quality of delivery is at the heart of any solid e-commerce proposition and ADS will give us a logistics stronghold in Europe, which will further empower merchants using Rakuten’s marketplaces, as well as supporting future marketplaces. ADS’s management team, their proprietary warehouse automation technology and existing infrastructure have strong synergies with Rakuten’s ecommerce and logistics businesses, and will be invaluable as we continue our growth in Japan and globally.”
ADS has deals with more than 100 merchants; some its better known clientele includes Nestle, L’Oreal and Sarenza, each of which uses its ‘full service’ for , which includes front-end websites, customer support and order management, as well as warehousing, delivery etc.
Rakuten is the world’s third largest e-commerce firm and one of the few tech companies in Japan that has successfully branched out into international waters. Acquisitions are very much a key to its worldwide growth and, in Europe, it most recently bought Spanish video-on-demand service Wuaki, though it tends to focus on e-commerce aligned companies.
The firm upped its visibility worldwide when it invested $100 million into hot social media startup Pinterest. The deal went through in May and included a strategic partnership agreement, which has already seen Rakuten bring Pinterest sharing buttons to a number of its most popular sites in Japan, helping to raise the service’s profile in the country.