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Business deals

Rakuten to buy Taiwan baseball champs in global sports offensive

Japanese e-commerce group will enter league with Lamigo Monkeys in 2020

Despite winning the Taiwan Series in 2017 and 2018, the Lamigo Monkeys have been losing money. (Photo from team Facebook account)

TOKYO/TAIPEI -- Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten has reached an agreement to buy the popular Taiwanese pro baseball team Lamigo Monkeys, the company said Thursday, with an eye toward entering the league in time for next season.

The team's management will be "rooted in Taiwan," Takashi Watanabe, the CEO of Rakuten's subsidiary covering Asian markets outside Japan, told reporters in Taipei. Rakuten is set to buy all shares in the Monkeys for an undisclosed sum, which Taiwanese media reported to be about 1.1 billion yen ($10.2 million).

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