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Amazon acquires online retailer Souq, as it takes first steps into Middle East

Alex Spencer
Souq CEO and founder Ronaldo Mouchawar

Amazon has reportedly acquired Dubai-based eCommerce firm Souq for $650m (£520m), according to TechCrunch.

Souq is often described as the Middle East's answer to Amazon, making this a logical move for the online retail giant as it makes a first push into the region, where it has never previously traded.

Amazon currently operates in 14 countries. Souq delivers to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar – meaning it could boost that number significantly.

That $650m price tag may be less than ideal for Souq, however. Bloomberg reported last November that the firm was in talks with Amazon to hand over just 30 per cent of its business, in a deal that would have valued Souq at $1bn, in line with its valuation from a $275m funding round last year.

Souq was founded in 2005 by Ronaldo Mouchawar, as one part of Maktoob, a broader Arabic web portal which was acquired in 2009 by Yahoo, and subsequently shut down in 2015.