Shown above is eBay Korea CEO Byun Kwang-yun. The online retailer is reportedly up for grabs. And a source familiar with the issue said that eBay Korea had prepared for M&A due diligence. Photo courtesy of eBay Korea

Online retailer is expected to find new owner

It seems that eBay Korea has prepared for a sell-off as the U.S.-based online retailer is reportedly set to sell its Korean subsidiary in the not-so-distant future.

A source familiar with the issue made the remarks amid news reports that eBay designated Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as financial advisors for the sales

“Late last year, the planning division of eBay Korea compiled documents, which could be used for M&A due diligence. Their sales data was not tandem with that of the firm’s accounting division to cause some stirs,” said the source who asked not to be named.

“eBay Korea chalked up much bigger sales and profits last year than originally expected thanks to the virus outbreak. It would be a good time to sell the e-commerce platform.”

eBay is one of the world’s leading online marketplaces. It gobbled up two Korean online retailers of Auction and G-Market in the 2000s to rule the market here.

However, the Seoul-based company has lost its dominance over the past few years in the face of challenges from such innovative players as Coupang.

Against this backdrop, reports have popped up that eBay tries to divest its Korean operation. Earlier this week, a major Korean newspaper also came up with a similar report.

The article picked such candidates as local retail conglomerates like Lotte and Shinsegae or private-equity funds, including MBK Partners, KKR, and Anchor Equity Partners.

“As far as I know, the potential buyer is located outside of Korea,” the anonymous source said.

When contacted, an eBay Korea official denied all the reports, noting them as “groundless rumors.”

Currently, eBay Korea is headed by CEO Byun Kwang-yun.