Rakuten acquires Overdrive for $410 million

The move makes Rakuten a global e-book player with Overdrive's network of library and content partnerships.


Rakuten, a Japanese Internet services giant, said Thursday that it has acquired Overdrive Holdings, an e-book marketplace, for $410 million.

The move bolsters Rakuten's e-book business and puts a global spin on Overdrive's core function, which revolves around a digital distribution platform that many libraries use to loan out e-books. Overdrive emerged as a key player for libraries since it built out partnerships with Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble as well as other players.

Overdrive isn't Rakuten's first foray into e-books. The company acquired e-reader player Kobo in 2012. Overdrive will bring 2.5 million titles to Rakuten as well as partnerships with 5,000 publishers and 30,000 libraries.

The deal is expected to close in April.

Rakuten said the addition of Overdrive will bring its global e-book business close to breakeven in 2015.