Amazon is reportedly set to acquire Middle East e-commerce giant Souq.com as it furthers its quest of global online shopping domination.
An Amazon spokesperson told GeekWire that “we’ll decline to comment on rumors and speculation.”
Souq is a 12-year-old e-commerce marketplace based in Dubai and is often referred to as the Amazon of the Middle East. The company, which raised a $275 million funding round in February 2016, sells nearly two million products — books, electronics, toys, home products, etc. — to customers in countries like United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
In November, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was in talks to acquire part of Souq in a $1 billion deal. That deal reportedly then fell apart, but came back to life earlier this month, with Bloomberg pegging the acquisition price at $650 million.
Reuters quoted Madrona Venture Group’s Scott Jacobson, who noted that the deal could be appealing for Amazon as it doesn’t have much infrastructure in the Middle East — contrary to India, where the tech giant is rapidly expanding. Jacobson also said mobile device penetration is high in the Middle East.
This would be mark one of Amazon’s largest acquisitions to date. Its biggest deals were for Twitch ($1 billion in 2014); Zappos ($807 million in 2009); and Kiva ($775 million in 2012). Amazon, founded in 1995, has historically spurned large acquisitions in favor of organic growth.