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Will Lotte and Shinsegae raise bids for eBay Korea? Only two retail giants remain in race to acquire US online retailer’s Korean business

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2021-06-11 07:51:11

이 기사는 2021년 06월 11일 07:37 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

The latest round of bidding has turned the race to acquire eBay Korea into a two-way battle between Lotte Group and Shinsegae Group, with close attention paid to whether the two retail giants, which has been ramping up efforts to expand their online presence, will raise their offers.

Lotte and Shinsegae submitted binding offers for eBay Korea in the second round of bidding on Monday, according to sources, while the other two shortlisted bidders, private equity firm MBK Partners and SK Telecom, did not submit bids.

While the exact prices offered by the conglomerates are unknown, most industry insiders think their proposals probably have fallen far short of eBay’s expectations, with a possibility of the seller holding another round of bidding to drive up the sale price.

Ebay Korea, which operates open market platforms Auction and Gmarket, holds the third largest share in the domestic online marketplace market after Naver and Coupang. It is clearly an attractive asset for both retail giants, which are trying to expand their reach into online shoppers.

But some are skeptical about whether competition between the two bidders will heat up, raising doubts over how much synergies Lotte and Shinsegae can get by acquiring open market platforms, which earn most of their revenue by collecting marketplace fees from their merchants.

Lotte and Shinsegae are in rivalry with each other as to catching up online retailers, But both conglomerates, which need to continue to ramp up their investment in ecommerce, are unlikely to offer a price higher than the level they think is reasonable, industry watchers said.

Some speculate a scenario where one of them withdraws from the deal if the seller insists on an excessively high price, which could result in giving an advantage to the remaining bidder in price negotiations with the seller.

“(The seller) is likely to try to reach a price agreement with either bidder, rather than make them compete to push the sale price higher, as that could result in a worst-case outcome of both bidders walking away from the deal,” an industry insider said. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)
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