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Thursday, 15th November 2012
In Business In Japan,

Japan's Rakuten purchases French Alpha Direct Services

Rakutan, the world's third biggest e-commerce company, has announced that it will acquire Alpha Direct Services (ADS), a French e-commerce logistics business.

Japan's Rakutan aims to streamline its business across its global e-commerce marketplaces, specifically its European arm, which includes PriceMinister in France.

The acquisition is the first ever logistics venture made by Rakuten outside of Japan and is the sixth European purchase by the company since 2010.

"This deal is a significant step forward, not only for Rakuten's PriceMinister, but for the development of Rakuten's global business," said Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, chief executive officer of Rakuten’s PriceMinister.

ADS was founded in 2002 and its head office is located in Beauvais, France.

It is the country's leading e-commerce logistics company with more than 100 merchants using its services, ranging from large companies such as Nestle, L'Oreal and Sarenza, to small enterprises.

Offering front-end websites, order management, warehousing, fulfilment delivery and customer support, the firm has in the last ten years created a highly cost-effective and efficient full service e-commerce logistics model.

The acquisition will enable ADS merchants to take advantage of same day delivery service in Paris and next day delivery across Europe.

Rakutan will benefit from the purchase through introducing best practice automation processes using ADS's unique robotic automation system to strengthen its current logistics services and progress its operational resourcefulness in Japan.

"ADS's management team, their proprietary warehouse automation technology and existing infrastructure have strong synergies with Rakuten's ecommerce and logistics businesses and will be invaluable as we continue our growth in Japan and globally," stated chairman and chief executive officer of the firm, Hiroshi Mikitani.

The Japanese firm is ranked among the top ten internet enterprises globally, by market capitalisation. Rakuten Ichiba, the firm's flagship B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model e-commerce site, is the biggest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world's largest by sales.

The finalisation of this acquisition is subject to its prior approval by the competition authority in France.

Posted by Mark Smith