Japan's Rakuten to buy cash-back site Ebates for $1 billion, aiming to expand product line-up

Markets Associated Press

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. says it plans to buy the U.S. based cash-back purchasing site Ebates for $1 billion.

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The company said Tuesday that it aims to build the world's largest product line-up, ranging from niche to luxury products.

Rakuten, which competes with Amazon.com, is the top Internet retailer in Japan. It has made numerous overseas acquisitions, including Cyprus-based Internet phone application Viber Media and led a $100 million investment in online scrapbook site Pinterest.

Rakuten and San Francisco, California-based Ebates both have membership-based online shopping platforms. Retailers pay Ebates to advertise their products and Ebates then gives rebates to eligible online purchases.

Rakuten plans to buy all of Ebates' 32.852 million shares, financing the deal through cash, bank loans, bonds and commercial paper.