Japan’s Rakuten Purchase Lamigo Monkeys

On September 19, in front of a packed media room filled with reporters and TV cameras, the Lamigo Monkeys announced the team had been sold to Japan’s Rakuten Inc.

“We have sold 100% of our stake to Rakuten Inc,” said the Lamigo Monkeys’ general manager Justin Liu. “Both Rakuten and Lamigo shared many similarities in marketing and baseball operations, which led to smooth communication throughout the whole process.”

Final Price: $17M to $22.6M USD?

Due to the confidentiality agreement, the purchase price of the Lamigo Monkeys was not disclosed at the press conference. However, multiple news outlets reported the deal is worth between $17 million to $22.6 million USD. Rakuten initially offered $16.1 million, but the Monkeys turned it down.

Pending Approval via Team Owners’ Meeting

According to the CPBL commissioner, the deal is now pending for approval. It will be up for discussion in the next team owners’ meeting.

“I have already informed the other team owners regarding this matter,” said the CPBL Commissioner Wu Chih-Yang. “The next step would be arranging meetings between Rakuten and other teams in the CPBL.”

Retain Operation Staff, Change Team Name

Rakuten, the new team owner, is going to retain all the existing personnel from the Monkeys’ baseball operation department. Rakuten also confirmed the team would continue to stay in Taoyuan City after the takeover.

According to Rakuten’s representative, the team will no longer use the name Lamigo Monkeys going forward. There will be a new team name and logo for the 2020 CPBL season.

Why Buy Lamigo Monkeys?

At the press conference, there were also two representatives from Rakuten Inc. They are Takashi Watanabe (渡邊崇), the Chief of Operating Officer of Rakuten Asia Operations, and Yoshinori Kawada (川田喜則), who is the Head of Ballpark Operation for the Rakuten Eagles.

When asked why Rakuten decided to purchase Lamigo Monkeys? Takashi Watanabe said Rakuten has been operating in Taiwan for more than a decade across various sectors. By entering the CPBL, he hopes it would further increase the awareness of the Rakuten brand in Taiwan.

Yoshinori Kawada told the media that he attended the Monkeys’ home games in the past and was impressed by it. He hopes they could utilise their NPB resource and experience to bring this team to the next level.

Lamigo-Rakuten Press Conference Video

Further Reading


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