Play.com is bought by Japan's Rakuten

A screenshot of Play.com's homepage. Play.com sells a range of goods to its 14 million registered users

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The UK online retailer Play.com has become the third European company to be taken over by Japan's e-commerce operator Rakuten.

Rakuten will pay £25m ($39.3m, 28.6m euros) for the company, which has 14 million registered users and is one of the largest in the UK.

The company said the purchase marked a "significant step" in its continued European and global expansion.

Play.com sells music, books, clothes and electronics.

The takeover follows Rakuten's acquisition of the French e-commerce pioneer Price Minister and the German online shopping mall, Tradoria.

Rakuten now operates e-commerce businesses in 10 countries around the world, including its operations in Japan.

The chairman and chief executive Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, said the Play.com takeover was an important one: "The UK market is one of Europe's largest and most mature e-commerce markets.

"Play.com is not only a pioneer in the market, but also one of the UK's most successful e-commerce businesses."

According to industry research, the UK's e-commerce industry is the largest in Europe and is expected to exceed £37bn and have 55 million online users by 2014.

Rakuten provides a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking and securities and employs 10,000 people worldwide.

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