Amazon said to consider acquiring Dubai-based online retailer for $1bn#Economy
Souq.com is known as ‘Amazon of the Middle East’
Amazon does not have big foothold in Middle East (Reuters)
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MEE and agencies
Saturday 26 November 2016 03:14 UTC
Last update: Saturday 26 November 2016 9:20 UTC
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Tags: Dubai, Amazon, M&A
Amazon.com is in preliminary talks to acquire the Dubai-based online retail market Souq.com for about $1bn, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Souq.com, known as the “Amazon of the Middle East,” currently offers roughly 1.5 million products across the Middle East, primarily in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Amazon does not have much of a foothold in the region.
In September, Souq.com hired banker Goldman Sachs to find potential buyers for at least 30 percent of the company, according to the Bloomberg report. Tiger Global Management and South Africa Naspers – the company’s primary investors – also may consider selling their shares, it added.
Big e-commerce ventures appear to be trending in the Middle East. Two weeks ago, Dubai business magnate Mohamed Alabbar announced the launch of a $1bn regional e-commerce site in a joint venture with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and other Gulf investors.
Noon.com is to go online in January with a 50 percent investment from the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund and the rest from about 60 investors led by Alabbar, who also heads the emirate’s real estate giant Emaar.
He told a news conference that distribution centres are being set up in the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, along with a giant warehouse the size of 60 football stadiums in Dubai.
“We expect to become a world player but will concentrate firstly on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” said the president of Emaar, the company that built the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
With an initial inventory of 20 million products, the online retailer aims to expand to Egypt, the Arab world’s most-populous state, at the end of next year or early in 2018.
Alabbar, cited by Bloomberg, said Noon would be traded on stock markets in five to seven years, and aims to be profitable within five years.
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