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Investment in Middle East

 JPM, London fund invest $20 million in Dubai e-commerce firm

namshi-jpmorgan.jpgJ.P. Morgan Chase and Blakeney Management have invested over $20 million in Dubai-based ecommerce firm Namshi.com - Reuters is reporting

Namshi.com, which was officially launched in January 2012, sells footwear and fashion online and ship to fashion consumers across the GCC. For a list of similar investments in the Middle East online space, check our special section here.

More details follows from Reuters

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 Souq.com merges private shopping portal Sukar.com in its operations

souqsukar.jpgIn a move that appears to be more of a consolidation in a holding group than an acquisition, it is announced that Souq.com, an e-commerce portal from the Middle East has acquired the private shopping portal Sukar.com.

Sukar.com is majority owned by the same group that owns Souq.com. So for us this seems more like a consolidation against the big force of another shopping portal, MarkaVIP.com which has recently closed a Series B of $10 million investment. Souq.com had announced investing $2.5 million in start-up Run2Sport.com earlier.

More details follows from their release:

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 UAE early stage investor Saffar Holding to exit its investment in Zawya

saffar-zawya.jpgSaffar Holding, an early-stage private equity investor in the Middle East, will exit its investment in regional financial portal Zawya in the next few weeks.

Back in October 2011 Saffar hired a London-based advisory firm, Arma Partners, to find acquirers and now The National is reporting that a multimillion-dollar sale of Zawya is expected to be finalized next month. Thomson Reuters, Emap and Pearson have expressed interest in acquiring the website.

(As DubaiBeat reported earlier, founders of Zawya Ihsan Jawad, Zaid Jawad and Husain Makiya managed Zawya for ten years and then left last year to launch HBT ventures).

Saffar Capital is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code PI15

 How to sell your Middle Eastern media firm - 7 lessons from Flip Media acquisition

yousef-flip.jpgSo you have a media firm based in the Middle East and eventually want to sell parts or all of it to interested buyers. How should you run your business to suit a great acquirer?

I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, CEO of Flip Media, a firm recently acquired by Publicis Groupe, at their lovely headquarter at Dubai Media City.

These are the top 7 lessons you can learn from their acquisition experience:

1. Engage with an institutional investor early
In 2006 Flip Media sold a significant equity stake to HSBC Private Equity Middle East - just 3-4 years after their inception. While it may sound too early in the life of a firm, engaging with an institutional investor will teach you great lessons in corporate governance, due diligence, and audit requirements - and provide you with the discipline required to even run your day-to-day operations.

2. Don’t hide investors from your employees
Many companies deal with their investors as some ghosts that need to be invisible from the employees! Having your employees involved in some general meetings with your investors, as Flip Media was doing regularly, will keep your employees motivated and on-track with your goals.

3. Surround yourself with great advisors
Having fantastic advisors will help you more than you think. Flip Media used to have technical, financial and strategic advisors listed as its advisory board.

4. Utilize M&A advisors
While your institutional investor will help you in a great way, an M&A expert will certainly be helpful in advising you on the most suitable acquirer in your specific industry. Flip Media used the services of M&A advisory firm Results International for their exit.

5. Exit for the right reasons
You are not selling a stake at your company to run away or just become rich. Make sure you are selling for the right reasons and you will find the right buyer. Flip’s co-founders viewed the acquisition as a natural step in Flip’s long-term evolution, not an end-goal.

6. Focus, not expand, your product line before selling
Your common sense might suggest that an acquirer would appreciate you being active in 10 different product lines; and that may urge you to launch new product line hastily just to show how big you are! But in reality you are better off with a couple of perfect products and services. Flip had actually exited from some of their products, long before being acquired. (Like Brand Central, which was a marketplace for advertisers and publishers in the Middle East)

7. Focus, not expand, your regional bases before selling
For the same reasons, a buyer appreciates regional focus. For example Flip used to have offices in Bahrain and Qatar, but the strategy of serving them from their base in Dubai turned out to be more successful than having offices in those countries.

Of course these are the items that we understand to be the top lessons from the Flip Media story, not necessarily how Flip managers would summarize as top lessons. But after having seen hundreds of such exits for the past five years, we can assure you that you will find your acquisition process much easier if you move along the above lines.

 Publicis Groupe acquired Dubai-based digital agency Flip Media

flip-acquired.jpgPublicis Groupe just announced its acquisition of Flip Media, a Dubai-based digital agency.

Founded in 2003 Flip Media has more than 100 employees across the Middle East and India. The acquisition amount is not disclosed.

See DubaiBeat category of Investments in the Middle East to learn more about similar acquisitions in the Middle East.

More details follows:

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 Carlyle Group acquires 42% stake in Domino's Pizza MENA master franchise

carlyle.jpgGlobal private equity firm The Carlyle Group announced it has acquired a 42% stake in Alamar Foods, a master franchise operator of Domino's Pizza and Wendy's hamburgers in the Middle East.

Alamar has 185 restaurants across 11 countries including 75 in Saudi Arabia.

Carlyle MENA is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code OR52.

More details follows

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 Middle East e-commerce website MarkaVIP raised $5 million

markavip.jpgMarkaVIP, a private sales club and e-commerce operation in the Middle East, just announced the completion of $5 million Series A funding led by Silicon Valley venture firm Lumia Capital with significant participation from New York City-based Invus Financial Advisors.

MarkaVIP was established in November 2010 and employs 120 people across six offices in Beirut, Dubai, Amman, Istanbul, Antwerp and San Francisco. The site has attracted 700,000 registered users to date, with up to 5,000 more joining per day.

This is one of the biggest announced investments in an e-commerce/online operation from the Middle East. Among other major investments from last year we had Dice Holdings acquisition of Dubai-based job site WorldWideWorker for $9 million and Naspers stake in Dubai-based classified website Dubizzle

More details about MarkaVIP investment follows:

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 Jabbar acquired remaining stake in Cobone.com from GBG to become the sole owner

coboneJabbar Internet Group which is backed by US investment firm Tiger Global, has taken complete ownership of group buying website Cobone.com by buying out the minority shareholder, Group Buying Global.

Group Buying Global is run by Klaus Hommels who is a European Angel Investor. Jabbar Internet group is behind several online initiatives in the Middle East.

More details follows from their release

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More from Investment in Middle East ...

  Naspers acquired stake in Dubai-based classified website (June 2011)

  Intel Acquires Egypt-based SySDSoft (March 2011)

  Dice Holdings acquired Dubai-based job site for up to $9 million (May 2010)

  HSBC Launched $100 million SME fund in the UAE (January 2010)

  Morgan Stanley research report on Dubai debts (December 2009)

  Dubai World and the future of investment from the Middle East (December 2009)

  Dubai-based Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) announced new investors (September 2009)

  Big news: BNP Lanching $300 million Gulf Private Equity Fund (September 2009)

  News Corp in talk to buy 20% of Saudi's Rotana Media for $250-$350 million (September 2009)

  Maktoob Revenue from 2001 to 2005 - Going from $0.9 to $3.5 million (August 2009)

  Yahoo Acquired Middle East Internet Company Maktoob.com for $164 million (August 2009)

  Gulf News article on Private Equity status in the region (August 2009)

  Jordanian online firm d1g.com closes first round of financing (August 2009)

  Cisco launched Cisco Capital Dubai at DIFC (July 2009)

  IFC Investing $14 million in Dubai-based EdCap (July 2009)

  Middle East Business of a Giant Pharma Acquired for $23.2 million (July 2009)

  Silicon Valley company acquired by Arabic language specialist Sakhr Software (July 2009)

  Carlyle Raises MENA and Dubai Private Equity Fund at $500 million (March 2009)

  Middle East Investors to participate in an Alternative Energy forum in Dubai (March 2009)

  Intel Capital Invests in Three UAE Companies (February 2009)

  Middle East VC Firm Invests in a Jordan-based Media Company (February 2009)

  Interview with Ithmar Capital Co-founder; Khaldoun Haj Hasan (January 2009)

  NBD Sana raises US$170 million for Middle East buyout fund (December 2008)

  Middle East PE firm invests in the best counter-cyclical business: debt management (December 2008)

  Investing in the $20b soccer industry with Middle East money (December 2008)

  Seera concludes $200m acquisition of BWA (December 2008)

  Leaders in Dubai - video from last year (November 2008)

  Agility Acquired Baisui Logistics for $50 million (November 2008)

  Official Website of the World Economic Forum Linked to DubaiBeat.com Coverage (November 2008)

  GrowthGate acquired stake in a $100m revenue firm (October 2008)

  From a $550 Ad to $475m Annual Sales (September 2008)

  KKR Enters the Middle East - with Lehman MD as First Hire (September 2008)

  Opening in Dubai instead of Los Angeles (September 2008)

  The $3.2b Egyptian Investment Bank Buying a Tenth of $61m British Bank (September 2008)

  Dubai Preferred Destination #6 for Workers across the Globe (June 2008)

  Viceroy Fund and Middle East Entrepreneurs (May 2008)

  FT and IHT Announced Middle East Editions – almost same day! (May 2008)

  Michael Dell in Dubai (April 2008)

  World's Richest-Ever Marathon Held in Dubai (January 2008)

  Sheikh Mohammad's Commentary on Wall Street Journal (January 2008)

  Freakonomics writer on the “pleasure of visiting Dubai” (December 2007)

  Financial Times Chief Columnist: I Admire Dubai (November 2007)

  UK media firm acquired Dubai-based business portal for $24 million (November 2007)

  MTV Enters the Middle East (November 2007)

  Low-cost Airlines in the Middle East (November 2007)

  Justin Timberlake in Abu Dhabi (October 2007)

  Warner Bros. Enters the Middle East (October 2007)

  Internal Memo of NASDAQ CEO on Dubai Deal (September 2007)

  Dubai to own 20% of NASDAQ, 30% of LSE (September 2007)

  Dubai Businessman Spent $215,000 in London Nightclub (September 2007)

  Google Maps comes to the Middle East - UAE is live (September 2007)

  Dubai is 'Disneyland for Adults' - The Arizona Republic (September 2007)

  Advice to US Companies: Don't Wait Too Long (August 2007)

  Dubai enters Vegas (August 2007)

  "Rising Gulf" - Newsweek's Special Report (August 2007)

  Dubai won the Barneys bidding war (August 2007)

  Dubai “won't overpay for assets” - Barneys deal near collapse (August 2007)

  Middle East Investors Buying Into New York - The New York Sun (July 2007)

  Dubai Company to acquire $1.75m Space Camp license (July 2007)

  $2.4 Million Ice Lounge Opens in Dubai (July 2007)

  Dubai buys Queen Elizabeth 2 for $100m (July 2007)

  Time Out New York wonders about Burj Dubai (June 2007)

  Art and Antiques Business in the Middle East (June 2007)

  Robert Murdoch enters the Middle East newspaper business (June 2007)

  The Magic of Middle Eastern Airlines (June 2007)

  Good to hear about new entrants – what about established players? (June 2007)

  Special Guests at the Elysee Palace (June 2007)

  PR Newswire to launch Middle East operations – DubaiBeat.com reveals (June 2007)

  "Schools, Students Flock to Dubai", says Wall Street Journal (June 2007)

  Standard Chartered to move 50-100 jobs to Dubai from London (June 2007)

  GCC millionaires = millionaires of India and China combined (May 2007)

  MasterCard Survey on Middle East Travel Trends – Full Version (May 2007)

  Dubai the 'next Silicon Valley' - eBay Vice President (May 2007)

  Cirque du soleil coming to Dubai - permanently! (May 2007)

  "Surprising Dubai" - BusinessWeek (May 2007)

  EMEA is so passé! Go MENA! (May 2007)

  Priceline.com's Subsidiary Opens Office in Dubai (April 2007)

  Getting 25% market share (April 2007)

  Craigslist Arrived in Dubai (April 2007)

  Morgan Stanley Chief Economist writes about his visit to Dubai (April 2007)

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Established in 2007, DubaiBeat.com provides insight, analysis and research on Middle East investors.

We cover different asset class investors like private equity, venture capital, hedge funds and real estate investors from the Middle East and broader MENA region.

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