TORONTO, Nov. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - Indigo Books & Music Inc. (TSX: IDG)
("Indigo"), Canada's largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer, and
Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755) ("Rakuten"), one of the world's leading
Internet service companies, announced today that Rakuten has agreed to
acquire all of the outstanding shares of Kobo Inc. ("Kobo") on a fully
diluted basis for US$315 million. Led by Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis,
Kobo will continue to function as a stand-alone operation with its
headquarters, management team, and employees based in Toronto.
Indigo is currently the majority shareholder in Kobo, a global eReading
service with one of the largest eReading catalogues in the world and
more than 5.6 million readers in over 100 countries worldwide. Indigo
expects to receive approximately US$140 million to US$150 million from
the proceeds of the sale on a fully diluted basis.
Indigo founded Kobo and spun it off in 2009 as an independent player in
the global eReading market. Both Indigo and Kobo believe that Rakuten
is the right global partner for Kobo to continue to grow the company to
its full potential. With over 50 million customers, and a global
mandate, Rakuten's e-commerce strength and broad experience will offer
the support and expertise to enable Kobo to further expand its reach
and solidify its position as a global leader in eReading.
"We are truly proud of the success that Kobo and Indigo have achieved.
From start up, only 24 months ago, to becoming a strong global player
with a unique reading experience and one of the largest multi-language
eReading catalogues in the world, Kobo is now among the world leaders
in the emerging eReading industry," said Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo
and Chair of Kobo. "Rakuten will allow Kobo to meet the demands of
competing with the very best players in the world. Notwithstanding the
sale, Indigo will maintain a very strong relationship with Kobo,
supporting the products and the services both in store and online and
directly benefiting from the growth of the Canadian eReading market.
The success of KOBO confirms that Indigo is a great brand and a strong
platform on which we can continue to innovate and grow."
"Kobo will continue its aggressive growth trajectory with Rakuten's
support," said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. "We look forward to
continuing to innovate, provide the best eReading experience for
customers, and expand internationally to solidify Kobo's leadership
position in the global eReading market."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including
approval under the Investment Canada Act, and is expected to close in early 2012.
About Kobo Inc.
Kobo is a global eReading service with more than 2.5 million eBooks,
magazines and newspapers - one of the largest eReading catalogues in
the world. Read Freely - Kobo believes consumers should have the
freedom to read any book on any device and has attracted millions of
readers from over 100 countries across the globe. Kobo has top ranked
eReading applications for iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows
and MacOS, and is the eReading application of choice for leading tablet
OEMs. Kobo eReaders, including the Kobo Touch and the newly launched
Kobo Vox are available at leading retailers, including Indigo, Walmart,
Best Buy, Target, Future Shop, WHSmith, FNAC, Collins Booksellers and
Whitcoull's. Kobo's innovative Reading Life is an industry-first
comprehensive social eReading experience - Kobo users can earn awards
simply for time spent reading and encouraging others. Kobo is backed
by majority shareholder Indigo Books & Music Inc., Cheung Kong
Holdings, and institutional investors.
Rakuten, Inc (JASDAQ:4755), is one of the world's leading Internet
service companies, providing a variety of consumer and business-focused
services including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit
card, e-money, portal & media, online marketing and professional
sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations
throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. Founded in 1997,
Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees
For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/group.
About Indigo Books & Music Inc.
Indigo is a publicly traded Canadian company listed on the Toronto Stock
Exchange (IDG) and the majority shareholder of the global eReading
service Kobo Inc. As the largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer
in Canada, Indigo operates in all provinces under different banners
including Indigo Books & Music; Indigo Books, Gifts, Kids;
IndigoSpirit; Chapters; The World's Biggest Bookstore; and Coles. The
online division, www.indigo.ca, features books, eBooks, toys and gifts
and hosts the award winning Indigo Online Community. In 2004, Indigo
founded the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, a registered charity
that provides new books and education materials to high-needs Canadian
elementary schools, to address the literacy crisis in Canada. To date
the Foundation has contributed $10.5 million to schools in need. Visit
loveofreading.org for more information.
Statements contained in this news release, including the expectation
that the transaction will close in early 2012 and that Indigo's
continuing relationship with Kobo and Kobo's business prospects, that
are not historical facts are forward-looking statements which involve
risk and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially
from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. No assurance
can be given that the transaction will close within the time period
specified in this news release or at all. Among the key factors that
could cause such differences is the need to receive regulatory approval
and to satisfy conditions to closing. Other factors are discussed in
Indigo's materials filed with the securities regulatory authorities in
Canada from time to time, including Indigo's latest annual information
form. Indigo disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise
any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
SOURCE Indigo Books
For further information:
Vice President, Public Relation Indigo Books & Music Inc.
416 342 8561