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Amazon confirms acquisition of Souq

Amazon today confirmed that it has acquired Souq.com, an e-commerce marketplace serving the Middle East based out of Dubai, which was already commonly described as “the Amazon of the Middle East”. The acquisition price was not disclosed, though media reports say Amazon’s offer was below a competing bid of $800 million by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, owner of Emaar Malls.

Amazon, in November, initially entered talks with Dubai-based Souq.com, which hired Goldman Sachs to find buyers. Amazon shares ended trading Tuesday up 1.1% to 856.

Souq.com is an English and Arabic language e-commerce platform often called the Amazon of the Middle East. It’s reportedly the largest e-commerce platform in the Arab world. Souq.com’s platform covers a population of about 50 million across several countries. Like Amazon, the website sells a large variety of goods, including electronics, housewares, exercise gear and health and beauty products.

“Souq.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon senior vice president, international consumer, in a statement announcing the deal.

“This acquisition is a critical next step in growing our e-commerce presence on behalf of customers across the region,” said Souq.com Chief Executive and Co-Founder Ronaldo Mouchawar, in a statement. “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 this year.

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