Amazon may be in talks to buy Brazilian retailer

Amazon.com is in talks to buy Brazil-based book retailer Saraiva's online operations, giving the U.S. giant a foothold in Latin America, according to media reports.
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos demonstrates the Kindle Paperwhite in September. His company is reported to be interested in expanding into Brazil with an acquisition there. (Gus Ruelas/Reuters )

Amazon.com is in talks to buy Brazil-based book retailer Saraiva's online operations, giving the U.S. giant a foothold in Latin America, according to media reports.

Saraiva wants to sell its online business to focus on its bookstores and publishing operations, where profit margins are higher, Reuters reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the negotiations.

Bloomberg's report indicated the entire company might be for sale.

Online sales in Brazil are forecast to expand 20 per cent this year over 2011, Bloomberg said, citing consulting company E-bit.

Amazon would use the acquisition to broaden its base in Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy, Bloomberg said. The Seattle-based online retailer is seeking new areas of growth to offset spending on continued development of the Kindle e-reader and other costs.

In addition to its online operations, Saraiva has a chain of bookstores in Brazil that sell books, DVDs, toys and consumer electronics.

Saraiva is publicly traded in Brazil and has a market value of about $350 million US. Amazon is valued at about $107 billion.

Neither Amazon nor Saraiva would discuss the matter.