SK Telecom, Shinsegae, MBK Partners among bidders for eBay’s Korean unit

Photo: Reuters

South Korea’s SK Telecom, retailer Shinsegae Group and private equity firm MBK Partners were among those that entered non-binding, preliminary bids for the sale of eBay Inc’s South Korean business, the telecom company and two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

EBay Korea operates open market e-commerce platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9, and was South Korea’s third-largest e-commerce firm in 2020 with 12.8% market share, according to Euromonitor.

The sources declined to be identified as not authorised to talk to media. MBK Partners, Shinsegae Group and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Seoul-based analysts said that eBay hopes to fetch up to 5 trillion won (S4.42 billion) with the sale.

However, they said the actual sale price may be lower, due to its recent drop in market share compared to rivals such as Korea’s No. 1 e-commerce firm Coupang, and disadvantages of the unit’s traditional “open market” form of e-commerce which simply connects sellers with buyers.

EBay Korea’s market share has been overtaken in recent years by Coupang, which directly handles inventory, differentiated itself with speedy delivery and raised around $4.6 billion in a blockbuster New York listing earlier this month, as well as Naver Corp, which operates South Korea’s dominant online search portal.

EBay Korea’s 2020 revenue was estimated to be about 1.3 trillion won, with a 5.3% on-year increase in transactions, compared to a 19% growth in South Korean e-commerce market, KTB Investment & Securities analyst Kim Jin-woo said.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.