Amazon may be nearing one of its biggest acquisitions in years, this time with its eyes on growing in Middle East e-commerce. Reuters reported on 22 March that Amazon agreed in principal to buy Dubai-based Souq.com, one of the biggest e-retailers in the Arab world.
Souq.com started in 2005 and reportedly sells over 400,000 products including electronics, clothes and household goods. The news of Amazon’s purchase of souq.com comes two weeks after Bloomberg said Amazon restarted talks with Middle-East online retailer for up to $650 million, after breaking off conversations earlier this year amid disagreements over a price. Both Amazon and Souq.com representatives were not available for comment on the reported deal.
The potential purchase would fit well with Amazon's interest in tapping into e-commerce growth in emerging markets, including its expansion in Mexico, China and India. As the world's largest e-commerce company has seen its businesses mature in developed countries, such as the US, Germany and Japan, it will need to go to more markets to maintain its rapid growth.
At $650 million, the souq.com deal would be Amazon's largest acquisition since 2014, when it bought Twitch, a service for watching and streaming live video-game play, for $970 million.
Outside of Twitch, the company bought robotics company Kiva Systems in 2012 for $775 million, e-commerce company Quidsi in 2010 for $545 million, and shoe e-retailer Zappos in 2009 for $1.2 billion.
Souq.com serves the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The online seller raised $275 million last February in its latest round of funding.