eBay completed the sale of 80% of its eBay Korea unit to Emart for approximately $3 billion. eBay will retain a 19.99% interest in the Korean businesses, including G-Market, IAC and G-9.
After caving to pressure from activist investors in 2019, eBay has been shedding units, including StubHub and eBay Classifieds. Rather than plowing money back into the Marketplace business or looking at opportunistic acquisitions, eBay has been on a share buyback spree. (“In recent decades, share buybacks have overtaken dividends as a preferred way to return cash to shareholders,” according to Investopedia.)
eBay CEO Jamie Iannone said today, “We are pleased to finalize the deal between eBay Korea and Emart, bringing together two strong ecommerce and retail companies that can unlock tremendous potential in Korea. By joining Emart, the eBay Korea business has an enormous opportunity ahead.
“We believe this deal allows eBay to further focus on growing our core marketplace and will offer additional value for our customers, employees and shareholders.”
eBay first entered the Korean market in 2001 when it became a majority shareholder in Internet Auction Co. (IAC) and invested in a majority stake of Gmarket in 2009.
In 2015, eBay had cited its work developing new Korean sellers through its professional online export system as a reason for eBay Korea’s strong export business.