US online auction giant eBay has bought a controlling stake in South Korea's biggest online marketplace Gmarket in a deal worth up to 1.2 billion dollars, the two companies announced on Thursday.
Gmarket's directors voted unanimously to approve the transaction, which was expected to be completed by the end of June, with eBay offering $24 a share.
The total purchase price would be about $1.2 billion if all outstanding shares are tendered, with eBay currently holding 67 percent of Gmarket as a result of shares already tendered.
South Korea's Fair Trade Commission last September gave conditional approval for the deal.
"The FTC approved the deal as most Internet-based markets are easily accessible and new competitors may emerge at any time in online markets," a spokesman for the commission said at the time.
California-based eBay announced plans on Tuesday to spin off Web communications service Skype, saying it wants to focus entirely on its two core growth engines -- e-commerce and online payments.