Japan's online retailer Rakuten buys majority stake in German e-commerce company Tradoria as part of global expansion, strengthening foothold in Europe

TOKYO , July 28, 2011 () – Rakuten Inc. said Thursday it bought a majority stake in German e-commerce company Tradoria, strengthening the Japanese online retailer's foothold in Europe.

The acquisition adds to the Tokyo-based company's growing list of overseas deals in an aggressive drive to expand globally.

Rakuten said it bought an 80 percent stake in Tradoria, which offers an e-commerce platform for small and mid-size merchants. It did not reveal how much it paid.

"Together, we will help each other grow in Europe and continue to open new markets worldwide to our merchants," said Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and chief executive of Rakuten, in a statement.

Rakuten is Japan's biggest player in Internet retailing, but Mikitani is keen to expand Rakuten's business worldwide. Like other Japanese companies, Rakuten faces an aging, shrinking population at home that is pushing it to seek growth abroad.

Germany has the biggest online population in Europe, and its e-commerce industry is expected to exceed euros 37 billion ($53 billion) in 2014, according to Rakuten.

It bought a majority stake in Brazilian e-commerce company Ikeda in June. Last year, it bought U.S. online retailer Buy.com and France's PriceMinister.

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