Emaar Malls' $800 million bid for Souq.com to challenge Amazon

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2017 1:37 AM

By Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai's Emaar Malls, operator of the Middle East's most glitzy shopping malls, has made an $800 million offer for Middle Eastern online retailer Souq.com, potentially setting up a bidding war with Amazon.com Inc.

The bid has so far not been accepted by Souq.com's shareholders, Emaar Malls said in a bourse statement on Monday.

Reuters reported last week that Amazon had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com. Amazon declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Souq.com did not respond to a request for comment.

Emaar Malls, operator of the Dubai Mall, is the retail unit of Dubai's largest publicly traded property developer Emaar Properties.

Chairman Mohammed Alabbar has been increasingly focusing on e-commerce. He has raised $1 billion, including from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, to set up regional e-commerce company Noon.

Alabbar has also bought into regional logistics firm Aramex and bought 4 percent of Italian online retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter for 100 million euros in April.

Souq.com's shareholders include South Africa’s Naspers Ltd who told Reuters on Saturday it holds a 36.4 percent stake in the company. Tiger Global Management also has a stake in Souq.com.

Naspers could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

(Editing by Saeed Azhar and Susan Thomas)