Bubble fear as Viber sells for £900m

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 20, 2014

The $900 million purchase of Viber Media by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten this week provides a further boost to the Israeli technology sector.

Viber’s main asset is the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which allows phone-calls to be made via the internet, an application particularly popular in the Middle East.

The company, founded in 2010, has experienced incredible growth and has 280 million registered users. It lost $30 million in 2013 but Rakuten sees Viber as a major extension of its portfolio.

The sale follows the purchase of Israeli navigation-software company Waze by Google for $1 billion, proving that young Israeli firms are still attractive to technology giants. However, it stoked fears of a hi-tech bubble, reminiscent of the one that burst in 2000, leading to mass job losses.

Last updated: 7:45pm, February 20 2014