eBay is negotiating to acquire almost 40 percent of Korean auction site and e-retailer Gmarket.
The online auction giant released a statement Wednesday confirming it is in talks to purchase Gmarket shares from auction-site affiliate Interpark and its chairman, Ki Hyung Lee. The company said no definitive agreement has been reached, although a preliminary filing is awaiting approval from the Korea Fair Trade Commission.
Seoul-based Gmarket was founded in 1999 and has established a base of 14.7 million registered users. In the financial report for its second quarter, ended June 30, the company announced a net income of $15.4 million.
By comparison, San Jose, Calif.-based eBay reported a net income of $460 million in its second quarter of the year, with 338.2 million registered members. In 2001, eBay showed interest in the Korean market by acquiring a majority stake in Korea's Internet Auction Company.
Gmarket's shares increased by 14 percent to close at $25.36 after eBay announced its interest in the company.