News Non-Life 30 Jan 2018

Japan:Online shopping company buys insurer

| 30 Jan 2018

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten announced yesterday that it would acquire Asahi Fire & Marine Insurance for JPY45 billion (US$414 million).

Rakuten will look to develop original insurance products using customer data it has accumulated through e-commerce operations, the company said.

Founded in 1951, Asahi Fire, a consolidated subsidiary of Nomura Holdings since 2011, is a non-life insurance company operating in Japan for over 65 years. Asahi Fire also operates a non-life insurance agency business through its wholly owned subsidiary, Mirai no Hoken.

Rakuten said in a statement yesterday that it had been considering its entry for the first time into the non-life insurance industry since around January 2017. In early September 2017, Rakuten made a proposal to acquire shares of Asahi Fire to Nomura Holdings based on its consideration of a tender offer for the shares of Asahi Fire. Thereafter, Rakuten, Nomura Holdings and Asahi Fire proactively discussed the possible synergies of cooperation between Rakuten and Asahi Fire.

In order to realise synergies precisely and promptly, it is considered necessary to construct a stronger sense of unity with Asahi Fire rather than business collaboration or partial investment, so to advance corporate value, Rakuten came to recognise that it is best policy to make the target company a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rakuten.

Rakuten’s vision as a “global innovation company” is based on innovation on a global scale that will contribute to the creation of a better society and, in order to achieve that, it has established a relationship with over 1.2 billion members worldwide, as well as offering over 70 diverse services including ecommerce, travel, credit card, banking, securities, insurance, payment services, electronic money, a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) business for discounted smartphone services, a voice and messaging app and professional sports, all of which are able to leverage the Big Data generated through its services. In particular, in Japan, the number of Rakuten IDs is close to 100 million.

Rakuten also continues to see growth that will further strengthen the foundation of the business as a result of the high potential for synergy between Rakuten’s FinTech businesses and its other Internet services, through initiatives such as effective promotions for Rakuten members, expansion of the product line-up, and alliances with other business operators.

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