The news has been abuzz for a couple of days in the Middle Eastern region, but it has now been made official, press release and all: Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire SOUQ.com.

For those of you who don't live in the Middle East and haven't heard of SOUQ (which means "market" in Arabic), you can think of it as India's Flipkart maybe or well, Amazon, but serving a few local countries in the region: UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and also shipping to Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. It has made a name for itself as one of the leading online retailers for shopping for clothes, electronics, beauty products, home items, sports equipment, baby products, and more. It currently offers more than 8.4 million products and is visited over 45 million times per month.

This acquisition looks like the perfect way for Amazon to set its foot in the Middle Eastern market where it still doesn't have any official presence. The press release is light on details: the price of the acquisition isn't disclosed though numbers around the $1 Billion were rumored earlier, there's no exact timeline but it says the deal should close in 2017, and there aren't specific details about what will happen to SOUQ.com after it's done. Will the site keep its brand and continue to operate independently or will it switch to a local Amazon site serving each country? I'd wager the second option, but that isn't clear yet.

What is known though is that both parties seem excited about their synergistic combination of powers. Amazon SVP Russ Grandinetti said, "We're looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources. And together, we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East." And SOUQ's CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar shared the same enthusiasm, "By becoming part of the Amazon family, we'll be able to vastly expand our delivery capabilities and customer selection much faster, as well as continue Amazon's great track record of empowering sellers."

If that means being able to purchase more products from Amazon in the region without having to ship them over from the other side of the world, color me excited.

Press Release

Amazon to Acquire SOUQ.com

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire SOUQ.com, an e-commerce leader in the Middle East. Joining the Amazon family will enable SOUQ.com to continue growing while working with Amazon to bring even more products and offerings to customers worldwide.

"Amazon and SOUQ.com share the same DNA – we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Senior Vice President, International Consumer. "SOUQ.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers. We're looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources. And together, we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East."

"We are guided by many of the same principles as Amazon, and this acquisition is a critical next step in growing our e-commerce presence on behalf of customers across the region," said SOUQ.com CEO and Co-Founder Ronaldo Mouchawar. "By becoming part of the Amazon family, we'll be able to vastly expand our delivery capabilities and customer selection much faster, as well as continue Amazon's great track record of empowering sellers."

Subject to closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in 2017.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

About SOUQ.com

SOUQ.com is the largest online retail and marketplace platform in the Arab world, featuring more than 8.4 million products across 31 categories such as consumer electronics, fashion, health and beauty, household goods, and baby. Today, SOUQ.com attracts over 45 million visits per month, with localized operations in the KSA, UAE and Egypt.

SOUQ.com offers a convenient and safe online shopping experience with secure online payments, option to pay cash on delivery and free returns. For more information, visit www.Souq.com.