Amazon may be facing a big contender in its efforts to strike a deal to purchase Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com.
Just last week, it was reported by Reuters, citing sources familiar with the deal, that Amazon had inked a deal to buy Souq.com. The report also said Amazon was purchasing 100 percent of Souq.com. Both companies declined to comment to Reuters.
Souq.com sells everything from consumer electronics to household products. It also sells fashion and other items on its website. By acquiring the company, Amazon would own one of the most well-known online retailers in the Middle East. It was noted that Souq.com sells more than 1.5 million products online.
But a new report over the weekend may throw a wrench in Amazon’s plans.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon’s $65s0 million offer for Souq.com was challenged by an approximately $800 million bid by Emaar Malls, the retail division of Dubai’s largest publicly traded property developer.
People familiar with the matter told the outlet that a final agreement has yet to be made with any bidder.
Earlier this month, Amazon rekindled acquisition talks with Souq.com after discussions reportedly went south last year.
Bloomberg reported in November that talks between Amazon and Souq.com were focused on Amazon paying about $1 billion to gain access to a high-growth market in the Middle East. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said Amazon was mulling making an offer for all of Souq.com, which originally was looking to sell around 30 percent of the company.
In March 2016, Souq.com raised $275 million in a round of funding in what the Middle Eastern eCommerce retailer said was the region’s largest single round of funding ever.
Cofounder and CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar explained in an interview with PYMNTS back then that the finances would accelerate the site’s growth, which has already been running at a torrid pace, thanks to technological infrastructure improvements across the Middle East.
“Further growth is inherent from being in a market with the highest mobile penetration in the world and continued adoption of mobile commerce by our customers,” Mouchawar said. “Souq.com is constantly enhancing its customer experience, for both buyers and sellers. SMEs in particular are true growth drivers in our economy, and our aim is to empower merchants to reap the benefits of eCommerce and further drive growth via mobile. Capitalizing on the step-change in consumer behavior and business benefit toward mobile commerce, Souq.com will continue to lead the eCommerce industry in the region.”