>> Dubai's Emaar Malls leveling up for potential bidding war with Amazon. Putting in an offer of $800 million for Middle East online retailer, souq.com. But sources tell Reuters that the US online retail giant, already had an exclusivity deal to buy Souq, that would have to be broken. Reuters' Alexander Cornwell has been following the story.
>> Amazon does not have a significant presence throughout the Middle East. However, consumers in the region are able to buy goods off its website. Buying Souq would give Amazon both the infrastructure and the assets here in the Middle East, as well as a well known brand that has been here for a significant period of time.
>> Emaar runs some glitzy shopping centers in the Middle East, including Dubai malls among the world's largest. A souq.com purchase would enable it to move beyond bricks and mortar shops.>> Acquiring souq.com would give Emaar malls a new consumer base. Now a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Emaar is looking for a click and collect service.
Now this is important in the Middle East because the majority of consumers here still prefer to walk into a store and physically pick out their goods. Partially due to issues over payment online and as well as infrastructure assets.>> Amazon has the technical expertise and deep pockets, Emaar has local knowledge and powerful allies.
Whoever prevails, they'll have their work cut out. A recent poll showed that online transactions account for just 1% of retail sales in the region.