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|| Abraaj Capital to acquire 50% stake in Dubai-based vouchers business The Entertainer

entertainerabraaj.jpgAbraaj Capital intends to acquire a 50% stake in The Entertainer, a Dubai-based coupons and vouchers publisher, for an undisclosed sum - The National is reporting.

The Entertainer, started in 2001 by Donna Benton, has a portfolio of 14 books across 8 countries in the GCC and Cyprus.

Abraaj Capital is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code OR01.

More details follows from the companies involved:

Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), Abraaj Capital’s $650 million high growth small and mid-cap (SMC) investment platform said it intends to acquire a 50 per cent stake in The Entertainer, a boutique consumer services company offering discount vouchers.

RED’s investment will be used to to strengthen The Entertainer's operations in existing markets, expand its footprint into new geographies and execute a strategy to enable customers to buy and use the vouchers over digital mediums and mobile networks.

Established in Dubai in 2001, The Entertainer offers two-for-one discounts through its annual books for each country market containing vouchers for restaurants, hotel stays, family and leisure activities, beauty and spa treatments. Its market include the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Cyprus, the statement said.

The brand has built up valuable relationships with leading hospitality brands and pioneered a win-win business model for consumers and the outlets it markets. Some of the leading brands that partner with The Entertainer include the Jumeirah Group, Atlantis Hotel, IHG, Hyatt Group, Shangri-La, Fairmont, Hilton, Starwood and the Rotana Group.

Commenting on the transaction, Tom Speechley, Chief Executive Officer, Riyada Enterprise Development said in the statement, “The Entertainer’s regional first mover advantage and longstanding relationships with leading merchants allied with a uniquely pro-merchant business model differentiates the company from the online daily deal offerings.”

Mr. Speechley added, “We believe that this investment will serve to accelerate The Entertainer’s expansion, not only in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, but also in Asia where there are tremendous growth opportunities. Today, the US discount voucher market, serving a population of just over 300 million, is estimated to be worth $4.5 billion annually. By comparison, the Mena market, with a nearly identical population size, is currently in the very early stages of its development. This indicates to us the scale of the opportunity for the sector and particularly for The Entertainer, which is the region’s market leader.”

Donna Benton, Chief Executive Officer, The Entertainer said, “We are excited to be partnering with Riyada Enterprise Development and look forward to rapidly expanding our geographic presence and improving usage convenience for our merchant partners and customers. We currently work with over 3,000 merchants and expect this number to be doubled in two years when we launch into Asia and other markets.”

Ms Benton continued: “The Entertainer recorded strong growth during the period of rapid economic expansion here in the UAE and wider region. As the two-for-one voucher market is generally counter-cyclical, our growth continued following the start of the global financial crisis and over the past few years. We believe that The Entertainer is now positioned for even greater success as we enter into this new partnership with Riyada Enterprise Development.”

RED said it targets individual investments of between $500,000 and $15m, with a focus on providing growth capital for influential minority and majority stakes in these companies. The Entertainer is the 14th investment of the RED platform.

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