Amazon acquires Middle East e-commerce site SOUQ.com

Amazon acquires Middle East e-commerce site SOUQ.com

Amazon has acquired Middle Eastern e-commerce website SOUQ.com in a deal referred to as "the biggest-ever technology M&A transaction in the Arab world".

Amazon has acquired 100% of the retailer, despite a reported eleventh-hour bid by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar who owns Emaar Malls EMAA.DU to buy the business for $800 million, according to Reuters.

Amazon has not disclosed how much it paid for the retailer, but Souq.com was valued at £1 billion when it sought funding last year.  

It is understood that Amazon was in exclusive talks to buy the company, which is why the offer from Alabbar reportedly couldn’t be considered.

An adviser at Goldman Sachs told Reuters the acquisition was "the biggest-ever technology M&A transaction in the Arab world".

SOUQ.com is the largest online retailer and marketplace platform in the Arab world, selling 8.4m products across 31 categories such as consumer electronics, fashion, health and beauty, household goods and baby, attracting over 45 million visits per month. It has localised operations in the KSA, UAE and Egypt.

Russ Grandinetti, Amazon senior vice president, International Consumer, said: “Amazon and SOUQ.com share the same DNA – we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking. SOUQ.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers. We're looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources.”

SOUQ.com c.e.o and co-founder Ronaldo Mouchawar added: "By becoming part of the Amazon family, we'll be able to vastly expand our delivery capabilities and customer selection much faster, as well as continue Amazon's great track record of empowering sellers."

The acquisition is expected to close in 2017.