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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:

Continue reading "Publicis Groupe acquired Dubai-based digital agency Flip Media" »




 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

Continue reading "Carlyle Group acquires 42% stake in Domino's Pizza MENA master franchise" »




 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:

Continue reading "Middle East e-commerce website MarkaVIP raised $5 million" »




 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

Continue reading "Jabbar acquired remaining stake in Cobone.com from GBG to become the sole owner" »






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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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