Amazon is reportedly looking to buy a minimum 30 percent stake in Dubai-based e-commerce website Souq.com. The bid is part of Amazon’s strategy to expand in the Middle East – a region in which it does not currently operate. The holding could put Souq.com’s value at upwards of $1.2 billion, the sources said.
They said Souq.com appointed Goldman Sachs to appoint a buyer for the stake sale.Existing investors Tiger Global Management and South Africa-based Naspers were said to be open to selling part of their holdings – although Tiger Global reportedly declined to comment and a spokeswoman for Naspers refused to confirm or deny involvement any deal. The stake sale is reportedly also drawing interest from private equity firms and family-owned companies in the Middle East seeking to expand into online retail. However, no final decisions have been made and the company has yet to agree a deal with any of the parties, QGN reported.
The e-commerce sector has seen rising demand in the Gulf in recent months, with Dubai-based businessman Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, announcing $1 billion plans to launch a string of major digital and e-commerce ventures in the UAE shortly after he snapped up Aramex founder Fadi Ghandour’s stake in the firm in June.
Sources: QGN. Gulf Agencies, Arabian Business, Bloomberg.