Rakuten Inc. of Japan has agreed to buy online retailer Buy.com for $250 million in cash. Sellers include Clearlake Capital Group, which bought a 9% stake in Buy.com three years ago.
Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (“Clearlake”), a private investment firm, today announced that its portfolio company, Buy.com, a leading U.S. online retail marketplace, has been sold to Rakuten, Inc.
Japan-based Rakuten’s core business, “Rakuten Ichiba,” is Japan’s largest Internet shopping mall, offering more than 50 million products by more than 33,000 merchants. The acquisition is highly strategic for Rakuten, and will accelerate the company’s plan to expand its online retail marketplace into North America and Europe for sellers and buyers. Combined, the two companies represent one of the world’s largest online retail marketplaces, offering consumers more than 60 million products from close to 35,000 merchants around the globe.
Rakuten’s all-cash acquisition of Buy.com is valued at approximately $250 million. Additional terms were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to have sponsored Buy.com and management as its first and only institutional investor,” said Behdad Eghbali, Partner, Clearlake Capital. “The Buy.com team has built a leading scalable marketplace platform, and the brand is strong and remains positioned for additional growth. Buy.com will serve as a powerful foothold for Rakuten in the U.S. as they seek to take their unique shopping and selling experiences global.”
In North America and much of Europe, Buy.com has recently surged as a major online marketplace, having experienced profitable growth for the past three years including growth of over 146% in its marketplace segment year over year in 2009. Buy.com was the first online retailer to offer enhanced shopping features and integrate commerce in social media such as BuyTV and collaborative commerce.
“This is an excitingday for Buy.com,” said Neel Grover, President and CEO Buy.com.
“We have worked hard to build a destination site that stands for the best of online shopping: great deals, strong product insights and special features that make the online shopping experience convenient and affordable. We look forward to our future as a key piece of Rakuten’s global success, and we thank the Clearlake team for the support and guidance they have offered us throughout our partnership.
About Clearlake Capital Group
Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. is a private investment firm focused on special situations such as corporate divestitures, recapitalizations, buyouts, restructurings, turnarounds and minority equity investments. Clearlake seeks to partner with world-class management teams by providing patient, long-term capital and operational expertise to invest in businesses going through change. Clearlake’s founding principals have led over 50 investments totaling more than $2.6 billion of capital in sectors including business services, communications and media, energy and power, healthcare, manufacturing, retail/consumer and technology. For more information, please visit www.clearlakecapital.com.
With more than 14 million customers, Buy.com is a leading retail marketplace, focused on providing its customers with a great shopping experience and a broad selection of retail goods at everyday low prices. Buy.com offers millions of products in a range of categories, including consumer electronics, computer hardware and software, cell phones, books, music, DVDs, games, toys, bags, fragrance, home and outdoor, baby, jewelry, shoes, apparel and sporting goods. Founded in June 1997, Buy.com is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California. Buy.com® and The Internet Superstore™ are trademarks of Buy.com Inc.
In Japan, Rakuten has approximately 64 million registered members and sales in 2009 totaled US$3.2 billion. Its core business “Rakuten Ichiba” is Japan’s largest Internet shopping mall and offers more than 50 million products by over 33,000 merchants, some of whom have turnover of more than US$1 million per month. In addition to its Internet shopping mall, Rakuten, which has more than 6,000 employees, is engaged in other Internet businesses such as travel agency and financial services.