Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten is to sell an 8.32 per cent stake to postal and banking giant Japan Post Holdings.
Rakuten, which saw a fall in operating loss in 2020, is under pressure as it also battles Amazon in e-commerce and takes on Japan’s telcos with its own mobile network.
“Rakuten is the best partner for us, as it has advanced digital technology,” Japan Post Holdings CEO Hiroya Masuda stated.
The deal makes Japan Post Holdings the biggest shareholder in Rakuten outside the founding Mikitani family, and is part of a 242bn yen ($2.2bn, £1.6bn, €1,86bn) share sale to companies including Tencent and Walmart.
Japan Post Holdings has a huge presence on almost all Japanese high streets, with around 24,000 post offices nationwide.
Image Frame Investment, a unit of Chinese tech giant Tencent, will take 3.65 per cent in Rakuten through third-party allotment, with Walmart also set to buy shares.
Last year Rakuten acquired a 20 per cent stake in Walmart’s Japanese supermarket unit. It has had a partnership with the unit, Seiyu, since 2018.
Shares of both Rakuten and Japan Post rose in afternoon trade in Tokyo.