Walmart Announces $153 Million Investment to Accelerate the Growth of Rakuten
UNITED STATES & JAPAN - Walmart has always had a tight grip on the U.S. market, but as it looks to expand its footprint, it is keeping the Asian market in its crosshairs. Recently, the retailer announced its latest growth initiative, investing 16.6 billion JPY (153 million USD) to accelerate the growth of Japan-based retailer Rakuten’s ecosystem globally.
“Around the world, we’re making strategic equity investments to enable Walmart to benefit from future growth in a rapidly changing global retail environment,” Judith McKenna, President and CEO of Walmart International, commented. “We have known and worked with Rakuten for a long time, and in many ways their ambitious journey to develop a world-class e-Commerce ecosystem mirrors our own.”
According to Walmart’s announcement, this investment will see the retailer take a 0.9 percent stake in Rakuten and is in line with other recent strategic equity investments the company has made that will enable Walmart to benefit from future growth in a rapidly changing global retail environment.
Since its partnership with Rakuten in 2018, Walmart has seen significant and steady growth of the online grocery business, Rakuten Seiyu Net Super, that has been jointly operated through a joint venture of Seiyu owned by the Rakuten and the Walmart Group. In November, we reported Walmart sold all but a 15 percent stake in the Seiyu chain. During that time, KKR joined in on the deal, purchasing a majority stake with the new Rakuten subsidiary.
As stated in Rakuten’s release, Rakuten Group, Walmart Group, and KKR Group will combine their strengths to utilize various know-how in Online Merges with Offline (OMO) measures and data marketing to utilize DX in retailers of food and daily necessities nationwide and aim to evolve the format for physical stores.
“These new investments in Rakuten indicate both high expectations for the growth and impact of the Rakuten Ecosystem with the mobile service at its core, as well as great potential for further collaboration with leading companies from the world’s three leading economies,” Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten Chairman and CEO commented. “I am also personally very excited to increase my family’s financial stake in Rakuten’s future vision of growth and empowerment of our stakeholders around the world.”
With a renewed investment in the Japanese market, will we see Walmart expand its grocery presence along with the likes of Rakuten, Aeon, and Costco? And how will this growth stretch over the Pacific to the States? ANUK will keep a pulse on the newswire.