Google is reportedly looking to sell its e-commerce business to a private equity group after it suffered a major cyberattack in the summer of 2016.
The US tech giant, which had acquired the online shopping platform Jet earlier this year, is reportedly exploring a sale to a consortium led by private equity firm Renaissance Capital, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Jet, which has seen its stock fall over the past year, had been valued at $2bn by Google and its parent company, Alphabet.
However, as the attack spread, Jet’s stock price plummeted, triggering an exit for Google.
In October 2016, a hacker broke into Jet’s data base and leaked sensitive information, including emails, login details and other proprietary information.
Jet, whose users pay up to $25 per month to access Jet’s platform, was taken offline and replaced by a Google-owned competitor, JetBiz.
JetBizz was able to access the data and used it to launch an attack on Jet.
Google has not commented publicly on the report, but the Journal said it had contacted the group that led the deal.
The deal is believed to have been struck at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, where the company has offices.
Jet has offices in the US and Australia.
Jet’s stock fell by as much as 17 per cent in after-hours trading on Tuesday.
The report comes a week after US federal prosecutors said they had charged the former chief executive of Jet, Jason Dickson, and five former senior executives with securities fraud and tax evasion.
Jet also announced that the company was shutting down its JetBiza online store, which was operated by the same group.
Jet has a strong following of consumers and has been in business for more than a decade.
The company said it would make a further announcement on Tuesday, but did not give a timeframe.
Jet was acquired by Google in July 2016 for $3.6bn.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reported sale.