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Japan's Rakuten says may buy Asahi Fire & Marine Insurance

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Rakuten is set to buy the insurance firm owned by Nomura Holdings for 40 billion yen (S$481.97 million) to 50 billion yen, the Nikkei daily reported, adding that the company would develop new insurance products that make use of its vast reserve of customer data.

[TOKYO] Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten said on Monday it was considering acquiring Asahi Fire & Marine Insurance, in what would be a further expansion into financial services.

Rakuten is set to buy the insurance firm owned by Nomura Holdings for 40 billion yen (S$481.97 million) to 50 billion yen, the Nikkei daily reported, adding that the company would develop new insurance products that make use of its vast reserve of customer data.

Nomura said in a separate statement it was looking at selling shares in Asahi Fire & Marine. Rakuten and Nomura said they would disclose more information when appropriate.

Rakuten, which operates one of Japan's most popular shopping websites, also offers online securities trading, commercial banking, credit cards and life insurance services.

sentifi.com

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Rakuten has stepped up its ambitions of late, announcing last week it had struck a partnership with Wal-Mart Stores to launch an online grocery delivery service.

In December it said it would apply for a 4G mobile licence, aiming to become the country's fourth major wireless carrier in a strategic shift that had analysts warning of an uphill battle to gain customers.

Shares in Rakuten were down 0. 5 per cent in early morning trade while the Nikkei index was up 0.6 per cent.

REUTERS

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