Viber Denies Acquisition Rumours

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The Cyprus-based messaging start-up is set to remain independent – denying all knowledge of the takeover story

Cross-platform instant messaging and VoIP platform Viber has denied rumours that it is being acquired by an Asian competitor.

On Tuesday morning, Israeli business publication Calcalist reported that Viber was being sold for between $300 and $400 million – a huge amount for a company that generates practically no revenue and has never raised venture capital.

However, the Viber press office told TechWeek that the company is not negotiating a sale, and was completely surprised by the unconfirmed reports.

The mill

Cyprus-based Viber is among the companies whose messaging services are blamed for the decline of texting. It has over 200 million users around the world, and fiercely guards their privacy – a fact that doesn’t sit well with authorities in Saudi Arabia, where the application has been unavailable since 2013.

sharpshutterThe company is one of the instant messaging leaders in the West, trailing WhatsApp with its 400 million users, and Facebook Messenger with around 945 million users. It has plenty of rivals in Asia, including WeChat in China, Line in Japan and KakaoTalk in South Korea.

Calcalist reported that an unidentified company from the East made an offer for the business, willing to pay up to $400 million. The story was later republished by Reuters.

Viber told us that its founder and CEO Talmon Marco “has no knowledge of any of the items mentioned in the story,” and was as puzzled by the rumours as the public at large.

In June 2013, TechWeek met Marco at the LeWeb London conference, to talk about the death of SMS, the role of network operators in the digital age, privacy and Eastern Europe. You can watch the interview here.

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