Amazon reported to be eyeing stake in Souq.com

Amazon, the world’s biggest e-commerce retailer, is looking to buy a stake in Souq.com, the Mena region’s biggest e-commerce site, according to media reports.

Reports and rumours over the past few weeks have suggested a variety of buyers vying for a slice of Souq.com, ranging from retail groups based in the UAE to international players looking to gain a foothold in the region.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, chief executive and founder of Souq.com, told The National that he could give no comment on what Amazon was looking to do “but there is always talk about Souq.com”.


Amazon was unavailable for comment on the possibility of buying a stake in Souq.com.

“There are Amazon executives in town,” said Omar Kassim, chief executive and founder of e-commerce site Jadopado.com. “The positive side for the sector is the region attracting international interest, which is always good.”

Two early investors in Souq, Tiger Global Management and Napsters, joined a further funding round of US$275 million this February. Mr Mouchawar suggested in June that Souq.com would be ready for a stock market flotation within two years as the company was growing at between 60 and 90 per cent every year, depending on the country focused on.

When Souq.com started in 2005 it was an internet auction site linked to the Arabic portal Maktoob. In 2011 it changed tack to become a retailer and marketplace for third-party vendors and, from that second start, it has become a leader for e-commerce in the region.

ascott@thenational.ae

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