eBay South Korea sale could be near to closing

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It looks like eBay could be close to closing a deal to sell the eBay South Korea operation, consisting of Gmarket, Auction and G9, in line with an announcement they made in January saying they were looking at their options.

Local reports suggest a consortium of E-Mart (Shinsegae) and Naver could take about 80% of eBay South Korea for 3.8 trillion Won, leaving eBay holding the remaining 20%.

E-Mart is the largest retailer in South Korea founded in 1993 by Shinsegae. The purchase of a majority holding in eBay South Korea would help them compete against Coupang, who are the largest ecommerce player in the region.

We’re not expecting to hear confirmation of the rumours from either eBay or E-Mart until a deal is signed, which would then have to pass the local competition regulators.

“eBay has initiated a process to explore, review and evaluate a range of strategic alternatives for its Korea business. The company is considering options that would maximize value for its shareholders and create future growth opportunities for the business.

eBay does not intend on making further public announcements regarding the strategic review unless and until the Board has approved a course of action requiring disclosure”
– eBay (January 21)

Selling eBay South Korea is unlikely to impact eBay sellers outside of the country – it’s not a platform that many Western eBay sellers would trade on. The major effect would be to further appease shareholders to whom it’s likely that cash would be returned and slightly trim eBay’s portfolio as the slim down to concentrate on their core eBay marketplace operations.

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