South Korean retailer Shinsegae Group’s E-Mart Inc said on Thursday it plans to acquire 80 percent stake of eBay Inc’s South Korean business for 3.4 trillion won ($3 billion), E-Mart said in a regulatory filing.
EBay will retain a 20 percent interest in the Korean business, whose implied value is approximately $3.8 billion, eBay said in a statement.
The transaction is expected to close by year-end or early next year, subject to regulatory approvals.
Naver Corp, which had previously participated in the bidding process with E-Mart, said earlier this week it pulled out of the acquisition.
EBay Korea, which was the leading e-commerce player in South Korea until 2015, saw transaction growth slow starting in 2016 due to intensified competition from the likes of Coupang , the current No. 1 e-commerce firm, analysts said.
Although the growth rate of South Korea’s online shopping market reached 41 percent between 2018 and 2020, the estimated growth rate of eBay Korea’s transaction price was about 4 percent, Samsung Securities analysts wrote in a report last week.
However, the business was still attractive to traditional retail giants including Shinsegae, which have struggled to build a leading presence in online shopping, especially after the onset of Covid-19.
EBay Korea operates the e-commerce platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9, and is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with a market share of about 12.8 percent in 2020, according to Euromonitor.
By Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee; Editor: Jason Neely