eBay ( EBAY) reached a tentative agreement to buy a controlling stake in Gmarket ( GMKT), South Korea's largest online auction service by revenue and market share, for $24 a share, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing a source.

eBay and the sellers of the 34.2% stake in Gmarket -- Interpark Corp. and its Chairman Lee Ki-hyong -- are expected to sign off on the deal Thursday after the boards of the companies meet, the Journal reports.

Representatives of eBay and Interpark declined to comment for the Journal.

The price is a 24% premium to Gmarket's closing price Tuesday of $19.34.

The stock rose sharply earlier this week on a report from online newspaper edaily that eBay would buy the 34.2% stake in Gmarket for $24 a share, or $413 million.

With the deal, eBay would become the largest player in the South Korean electronic commerce market. An eBay subsidiary, Internet Auction, already operates the second-largest auction Web site in South Korea, according to the Journal.

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