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UPDATE 2-EBay to sell S.Korean unit for about $3.6 bln to Shinsegae, Naver -media

(Adds Naver comment in paragraph 3)

SEOUL, June 16 (Reuters) - EBay will sell its South Korean business to Shinsegae Group’s E-Mart Inc and web portal operator Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

E-Mart said in a regulatory filing it was talking with eBay but that nothing had been finalised. Naver said in a separate filing on Thursday it had participated in the bidding process but the deal has not been concluded.

EBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates. ($1 = 1,117.7000 won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Gerry Doyle)

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