eBay Korea preliminary bids filed

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eBay Korea preliminary bids filed

eBay logo at eBay Korea’s headquarters in Gangnam District, southern Seoul on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

eBay logo at eBay Korea’s headquarters in Gangnam District, southern Seoul on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

 
Preliminary bidding for eBay Korea closed Tuesday.  
 
Multiple media outlets reported Tuesday that Shinsegae and Lotte are participating in the bidding. MBK Partners, a private equity firm and majority owner of local retailer Homeplus, is another possible bidder. 
 
Kakao did not participate the race, against all the expectations, according to local reports. 
 
But SK Telecom, which operates online platform 11st, is participating in the race. 
 
eBay Korea holds 12 percent of Korea’s e-commerce market, behind Naver, at 17 percent, and Coupang’s 13 percent, according to data provided by Kyobo Securities. Total transactions made through eBay's websites in Korea stood at some 20 trillion won ($17.7 billion) last year. Naver’s volume was 27 trillion won and Coupang’s 22 trillion won.  
 
eBay Korea operates online shopping malls Gmarket, Auction and G9.  
 
SK Telecom operates 11st, Korea’s fourth largest e-commerce operator, with a 6 percent share, behind Naver, Coupang and eBay Korea. 11st’s performance in 2020 shifted to 9.8 billion won of operating loss from 1.4 billion won of operating profit a year earlier. It posted 545.6 billion won in revenue.
 
If SK Telecom succeeds in acquiring eBay Korea, it becomes the No. 1 player in e-commerce market, beating Naver, with combined market share of about 18 percent.  
 
“Shouldn’t we definitely participate the race?” Park Jung-ho, CEO of SK Telecom, was reported to have asked Tuesday, according to multiple local media outlets.
 
Late last year, SK Telecom announced a strategic partnership with Amazon, the world’s largest online platform. The company is also reviewing an initial public offering of 11st.  
 
The successful buyer is expected to pay some 5 trillion won to acquire eBay Korea. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are the organizers of the sale of the e-commerce platform.  
 
Market analysts say abundant cash reserves would be the key to decide who becomes the new owner of eBay Korea.
 
“The issue of who could succeed in acquiring eBay Korea depends on which company has more cash," said Lee Seung-hoon, an analyst at IBK Securities. 
 
BY CHEA SARAH [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
 
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