SEOUL, South Korea EBay Inc., the American online auctioneer, has acquired a majority stake in South Koreas largest online auction business, Internet Auction Co. Ltd., for about $120 million.
The deal announced yesterday gives eBay a foothold in a major online auction market in Asia and access to Internet Auctions 2.8 million registered users.
San Jose, Calif.-based eBay bought just over 50 percent of Internet Auction from three of the Korean companys major shareholders: Sung Moon Kwon, The Will-bes & Co. and KTB Network Co.
Since opening in April 1998, Internet Auctions Web site has become Koreas largest auction-style Web site and expects to approach the operating break-even point before charges and onetime items this year.
The deal is subject to approval by shareholders and regulators.
South Korea is one of the worlds fastest growing Internet markets. A third of its population uses the Internet regularly and more than half of stock trading is done online.
EBay is currently in seven major markets outside the United States, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Canada, Australia and Japan. It said with majority ownership of Internet Auction, it will be established in overseas markets that together represent nearly two thirds of the worlds e-commerce revenue.
"As a founder of Internet Auction, I couldnt be happier about this alliance," said Hyuk Oh, co-CEO of Internet Auction. "I believe this deal will help ensure that Internet Auction and its users will continue to grow and prosper."
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