SAO PAULO, April 14 (Reuters) - Latin American e-commerce company MercadoLibre Inc said on Tuesday it agreed to buy Brazilian software firm KPL Soluções for at least 50 million reais ($16 million), adding 80 employees and expertise in software for online retailers.
KPL co-founders Fabiano Silva and Anderson Duarte will continue to run the business, earning further payout based on performance targets, MercadoLibre said in a statement. KPL, which has 300 clients, will focus on developing cloud-based business management software for professional users of MercadoLibre's retail platform.
The software support, along with MercadoLibre's proprietary payment and logistics services, are meant to retain sellers' loyalty on the platform at a moment of rising competition from foreign competitors Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
"This is the first acquisition of something outside our expertise," Helisson Lemos, who runs MercadoLibre in Brazil, said in a phone interview. He added that there are no ongoing negotiations for more acquisitions in Brazil.
According to Lemos, KPL's contribution to total revenue at MercadoLibre will be marginal. "The fact that we'll have more professionally managed shop owners - that will generate growth for other business units," he said.
Brazil contributed around half of MercadoLibre's net revenue last year, which totaled $557 million in the 13 Latin American countries where it operates.
MercadoLibre has made a series of recent acquisitions across the region, including software companies in Argentina and retail platforms in Chile.
$1 = 3.12 Brazilian reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Lisa Shumaker