Japanese Internet giant Rakuten has reportedly announced that it is set to acquire messaging service Viber for a deal priced at 900 million dollars.
The deal would allow Viber to potentially add Rakuten Group's nearly 225 million members to its existing user base of 300 million registered users.
However, the Rakuten-Viber pairing might pose a significant new challenge to rival Line, which announced crossing the 300 million registered users benchmark back in November 2013 and is aiming for the 500 million milestone in 2014, Tech Crunch reports.
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani hinted that games are part of the company's plans for Viber and said that he was excited to welcome the messaging service.
As Rakuten seeks to become the world's number one Internet services company, its acquisitions have included e-reading platform Kobo for 315 million dollars, Spanish streaming video service Wuaki.tv and Viki, a global video streaming platform that crowdsources translated subtitles, for a reported 200 million dollars.
The report said that Rakuten's announcement comes just two days after Viber Media denied a report that it was in talks to be acquired by an instant messaging company from Asia for 300 million to 400 million dollars.