Established in 2011 and with 75 employees, theAudience is a publisher of social and digital content. It syndicates more than 5,000 pieces of branded content each month to more than 1 billion consumers through its network of more than 6,000 celebrities and influencers. With around 9,000 employees, Al Ahli Holding Group is headquartered in the UAE, with representative offices across 20 countries globally. The deal amount in not disclosed. (According to The New York Times, Mohammed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding called CEO of theAudience out of the blue about nine weeks ago and the deal was concluded in about half that time.)
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More details follows:
Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG) , a UAE-based multi-diversified international conglomerate, has acquired theAudience, one of the world's largest publishers of multi-channel social and digital content, which will help AAHG create a new direct-to-consumer media service across many of its varied companies.
Based in Los Angeles, theAudience has become known as one of the world's most innovative and largest social-media publishing and marketing companies, reaching more than 1 billion people globally each month. Its expertise in connecting brands and consumers has led it to work with such iconic brands as American Express, McDonald's, Unilever, Ford and, in the entertainment industry, Paramount, Universal, Sony and 20th Century Fox.
theAudience will become a connective tissue across AAHG, which has holdings in live events, media production, sports and fitness, lifestyle, consumer products and many other sectors.
"Acquiring theAudience is in line with our long-term global diversification plan and will be key to the international expansion of our rapidly growing lifestyle, entertainment and digital-media portfolio," said Mohammed Khammas, CEO of AAHG. "the Audience will allow us to create a direct-to-consumer media company that offers innovative social-content solutions to varied industries, including live events, themed entertainment, movies and TV shows, consumer products, lifestyle and fitness."
Khammas added, "Our goal is to disrupt the way businesses currently conduct themselves and to create offer services based on real human behaviors and social trends, incorporating digital media in a deep way rather than a superficial marketing tool. New media has moved away from being a simple utility and is now a way of life, and AAHG will deepen and strengthen that trend."
Innovation is at the heart of every project undertaken by the UAE conglomerate during the past four decades, Khammas said - innovation that continues with the acquisition of theAudience. Once it's integrated into AAHG, theAudience will focus on audience-driven events and artist development. It will create an "entertainment ecosystem," building networks of content creators, influencers, new age celebrities as well as activating and ticketing live events. theAudience will be the spark that ignites this vision set for our group.
Oliver Luckett, CEO of theAudience, will remain head of the company. Luckett co-founded the company with Sean Parker, founding Facebook president, and Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor. theAudience is the third company Luckett has started that went on to acquisition, including Digisynd, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2008. Since its inception, theAudience has grown to syndicate more than 5,000 pieces of branded content each month to more than 1 billion consumers through its network of more than 6,000 celebrities and influencers.
"We started theAudience with a dream to become the nucleus of a global, next-generation media company, and AAHG is helping us fulfill that dream," Luckett said. "Now, the vision we've had is coming together with an incredibly forward-thinking company that will put us at the heart of live experiences, theme parks, retail experiences, comic conventions and collectibles - plus an exciting community of artists."
Khammas said AAHG will continue to build on the strengths of theAudience. "I am thankful to Sean Parker and Ari Emmanuel for entrusting AAHG with the future of the company and allowing us to take it forward to its destined future of being the next consolidated new media company offering direct-to-consumer services."
theAudience has a long track record of opening up opportunities for emerging artists to fulfill their potential, while bringing them together with major brands tap to into a huge audience across the social ecosystem. theAudience's business portfolio includes services like social consulting, social publishing and influencer activation, which will be integrated across AAHG's umbrella of 30 different companies across 20 countries.
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