Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Eager to expand its e-commerce business into new segments, Japanese operator DoCoMo has tabled an offer to acquire local fashion shopping site MagaSeek for upwards of $13.1 million (1.19 billion yen).
In a note on its website — via Tech In Asia — DoCoMo says it is aiming to buy a minimum 41.67 percent stake in Magaseek, which will allow it to turn the site into a consolidated subsidiary of its business. That move will expand its e-commerce efforts from a sole focus on daily commodities.
DoCoMo made a play for Web retail when it announced a new group strategy in 2011 and the operator runs its mobile-based ‘Dshopping’ service which lets smartphone and tablet owners buy items right from their smartphone or tablet. After seeing initial traction, it is seeking to move into the lucrative fashion space in its native Japan.
MagaSeek, owned by trading firm Itochu, is one of Japan’s top fashion retailers. It recorded net profits of $1.5 million (138 million yen) on sales of $106.6 million (9,698 million yen) last year. DoCoMo says that the site — which is predominantly used by women, but also includes clothing for men — would make the ideal base from which it will launch a new fashion-focused site for the Dshopping service. It is also planning to collaborate with Itochu on this proposed new service.
The operator has set a deadline of March 14 to complete the deal which will see Itochu retain its existing 25 percent share in MagaSeek.
DoCoMo’s efforts to increase its mobile content business have seen it invest $22.5 million in a joint venture with Chinese search giant Baidu, while it snapped up Italian content firm Buongiorno for $267 million in August 2012. It remains one of just a few first-world operators yet to strike a deal to carry the iPhone, though it has indicated its interest in an alliance with Apple. Without a deal, however, the carrier has built up its own content delivery platform and a number of other mobile-specific services.
Last year, it signaled its intention to up its focus on Japan with a new $125 million fund specifically for developing early-stage tech and mobile startups in the country.
Headline image via TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/Getty Images
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