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Rakuten buys US cash back shopping site in a $1bn transaction it says will ‘revolutionise ecommerce’

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Rakuten today said it was to buy US cashback shopping website Ebates in a move that it said would “revolutionise ecommerce”.

The marketplace, which trades in the UK through Play.com and is scheduled to open a new Rakuten UK site next month, said today that the $1bn acquisition (£0.6bn) would help it to give its members “the most empowering and rewarding shopping experience available anywhere. ” That, it said, would come through a membership-based, loyalty driven B2B2C marketplace.

Rakuten founder and chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani said: “The combination of Rakuten and Ebates is entirely unique and will revolutionise ecommerce. This is all about the consumer and we are excited to be able to empower our members with even more ways to enjoy shopping on the world’s largest selection of products across the broadest range of categories. It will also give our members the greatest incentives to keep shopping.”

Kevin Johnson, chief executive of Ebates, said: “Rakuten and Ebates have a unified vision of empowerment: empower our members with the best loyalty incentives possible; and empower our merchant partners by providing them with the tools and know-how they need to succeed at e-commerce. Joining forces with Rakuten will help accelerate our US and international growth and provide deeper and richer shopping experiences for our members.”

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