Rakuten, Inc. today announced that it has closed a transaction to acquire a 75% stake in Ikeda, a provider of e-commerce services to many of Brazil’s retailers. The acquisition marks another step toward Rakuten’s objective to extend its operations on empowering merchants and consumers around the world.

Founded in 1996, Ikeda provides retailers with a SaaS (Software as a Service) e-commerce platform, and shares the same empowerment philosophy as Rakuten. Ikeda currently provides services to over 100 major retailers in Brazil including such market leaders as Brasoftware (software), Ri Happy (toys), Viedolar (CD/DVD), Cobasi (pet goods), Etna (furniture) and Le Postiche (luggage and bags).

“Ikeda is a strong player with many excellent merchant relationships,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten. “Together, we will share our expertise, and create a unique and powerful approach for merchants to not only take advantage of the exciting ecommerce market in Brazil, but also to expand their reach worldwide.”

“Rakuten has deep knowledge and a growing global presence that will allow us to take advantage of evolving trends in ecommerce and allow us to grow even faster. Through the addition of Rakuten’s BtoBtoC marketplace business model, we will introduce entirely new ways to help our clients achieve their goals,” said Ricardo Yoiti Ikeda, Founder and CEO of Ikeda.

With 40% of Latin America’s internet users and the largest economy, Brazil is expected to increase its online sales, boosted by the growth of the middle class and consumer technology purchases. E-commerce in Brazil is forecasted to grow at 18% annually, with total sales expected to reach approximately US$22 billion by 2016, a growth rate of 178% over the US$7.9 billion achieved in 2010. (Source: Forrester Research).

The amount of the current investment was not disclosed.

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