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Amazon confirmed today that it has finalized a deal to buy Souq, the Middle East’s largest ecommerce site.

While the acquisition had been in the works for some time, the talks took a dramatic turn when Dubai’s Emaar Malls, which owns a chain of high-end shopping malls across the region, announced this week that it had offered $800 million to buy Souq.com. According to Reuters, that was more than Amazon had offered.

Reuters pegged the Amazon bid at $580 million, while the Financial Times put the figure between $650 and $750 million. Amazon did not confirm a price in its press release.

In either case, the amount of the bids is somewhat surprising because the company has already raised $425 million in venture capital, according to Crunchbase. Neither bid would have offered investors much of a premium, especially considering the Souq’s status as the region’s leading ecommerce site.

“Amazon and Souq.com share the same DNA — we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of International Consumer, in a statement. “Souq.com pioneered ecommerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers. We’re looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources. And together, we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East.”

The deal is expected to close later this year.


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