Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce platform known for its purchases of Kobo and Buy.com, has made another acquisition: international streaming video site Viki. All Things D first reported the news last night, saying that Rakuten and Viki had agreed on $200 million for the buyout. Neither company has confirmed that number, but Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said that he was indeed purchasing the company. "Our foundation is not only limited to e-commerce, but an intention to strengthen our ecosystem in Japan and worldwide," he said. "We have been looking into finding a global solution for video."
Like Hulu, Viki offers streaming TV shows, music, and movies, but its model is based on global reach rather than acquiring high-profile material from the US. The company streams content from Korea, Venezuela, China, and Japan among others, relying on fans to transcribe subtitles that let viewers watch from around the world. In the past few years, it's gotten investment from high-profile names like Andreessen Horowitz and BBC Worldwide, signing a licensing deal with the latter. Rakuten, meanwhile, has spent the last two years expanding its reach; besides its acquisitions, it's also investing heavily in curation-based social network Pinterest. While it's competing in the same territory as Amazon and eBay, Mikitani has focused on giving sellers individual shops. "We are a bazaar. We are not a supermarket," he told Wired earlier this year.