eBay acquires Korean e-commerce site


eBay acquires Korean e-commerce site

Warwick Ashford

eBay is to acquire a majority stake in Korean e-commerce firm Gmarket, as it seeks to boost revenues and concentrate on its core business.

Gmarket's board unanimously approved eBay's tender offer of $24 a share for at least 67% of the company.

The estimated $1.2bn acquisition will enable eBay to expand its Asian operations by combining Gmarket with its existing Internet Auction Company (IAC) in Korea.

Earlier this week, eBay announced that it had sold website discovery service StumbleUpon and plans to list internet calling service Skypeas a separate company.

According to eBay, StumbleUpon and Skype do not fit in with its online auction and payments businesses and will work better as separate companies.

The Gmarket deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2009 and relieve financial pressure on eBay by providing new sources of revenue.

Korea is the world's sixth largest e-commerce site after the US, Germany, UK, China and Japan.

The combination of Gmarket and IAC will provide more opportunities for sellers, such as tools for simultaneous listings, said John Donahoe, eBay chief executive.

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