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November 25, 2016

Amazon in talks to acquire Souq.com for $1bn

The deal opens Amazon to the fast-growing Middle East market.

By CBR Staff Writer

Amazon.com is reportedly in talks to buy Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com FZ in a deal worth about $1bn.

The acquisition could enable the US-based e-commerce major to have presence in the fast-growing Middle East market.

Seattle-based Amazon is contemplating to acquire the entire site, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Initially, Souq wanted to divest at least 30% stake in the company.

However, the companies have not reached a final agreement regarding the deal and discussions may fall apart, the people told the publication.

In September, Souq reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to search for a buyer for the stake.

Souq’s existing investors – Tiger Global Management and South Africa’s Naspers- were also evaluating options to sell their holding, the publication said.

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According to Souq’s website, the online retailer sells over 1.5 million products to customers in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In February, it raised funds worth $275m from investors after Tiger Global and Naspers, among others.

Read: CBR analysis, Amazon shows it will compete with anyone – including itself

The funding round saw new strategic investors such as Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), Baillie Gifford, and other regional and tech-oriented financial institutions.

The fund is claimed to be the largest financing for an e-commerce business in the Middle East.

In 2012, Souq acquired Sukar.com, an online private shopping club in the Middle East region with focus on fashion & lifestyle.

The acquisition was aimed at consolidating the market leadership of both companies in the online space, reported TradeArabia.

Founded in 2010, Sukar.com offered its members an exclusive access to daily incomparable deals on over 700 fashion and lifestyle brands, in addition to beauty, gadgets and home fashion categories.

Amazon reported a revenue of $32.7bn for the third quarter ending September 2016 compared to $25.3bn in the same quarter a year earlier.

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