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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
EBay tightens grip on Asia market
eBay operates auction sites in 17 countries
The world's largest internet auctioneer eBay has raised its stake in South Korean affiliate Internet Auction.

EBay said it paid $325m (180.3m) to increase its holding to 86% from 62%. It plans to buy the remaining shares.

South Korea has the highest broadband penetration rate in the world - with 11 million users out of a total population of 48 million.

Internet Auction has 9.9 million subscribers - more than a fifth of the country's population.

Profit hopes

On Tuesday Internet Auction shares closed at 102,800 won.

eBay upped its offer from an original 70,000 won ($61,000; 34,000) per share, which was rejected by shareholders in December, to 125,000 won.

EBay said it bought the shares from institutional investors including US hedge funds Tiger Technology and Lone Pine Capital.

Internet Auction is expected to report net profits of 25.2bn won for the current financial year - up from 18.6bn won last time.

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