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French Version

Abraaj Capital acquires stake in Maktoob

Abraaj Capital and Maktoob.com have announced Tuesday that the Dubai-based private equity house has taken a 40 percent stake in the leading Arab web portal.

The acquisition was made through the $116 million Abraaj Buyout Fund, which is now fully invested. His Majesty King Abdallah commended the $5 million deal, at a recent meeting of the principals in Jordan.

The King expressed his pleasure at the maturity of Jordan’s premier online company and the partnership with Abraaj. Humayun Shahryar, executive director of Abraaj Capital, said, “Maktoob.com is a visionary web community, a portal to a dedicated and comprehensive Arabic online service that is already widely successful, and with the collective input of the management and the new board, will be able to realize its goal of becoming the leading online community and e-commerce portal of the Arab world.”

The rising popularity of Maktoob among Arabic speakers comes on the backdrop of some solid growth in the numbers of Internet users across the Arab League member states.

Shahryar said that the region’s rapid growth of Internet combined with its fast expanding young population and rising per capita income provides the right context for Abraaj’s capital injection into the company, which gives Maktoob the resources to further enhance its market share. “Maktoob’s post-acquisition strategy is focused on consolidating its position as the biggest portal in the Arab world,” he said.

Samih Touqan, CEO of Maktoob.com, said that the web portal would continue to build its core customer base, expand its team and grow by acquiring and merging with other players in the region. “Maktoob has already acquired three companies since the beginning of 2005 and now with additional funding available will be aggressively looking for players that could help to increase traffic and revenue for the web portal or add new technologies and products,” he said.

Touqan said Maktoob is much delighted that Abraaj Capital shares his company’s vision and ambition. “We are already the Arab world’s most popular web community, with almost four million registered users. With the injection of expertise, experience and investment provided by Abraaj Capital, we hope to accelerate our growth plans and take our rightful place as the Arab world’s leading online partner.”

Maktoob.com, the only cash-positive company of its kind in the region, has undertaken many recent initiatives, including online auction (souq.com) and CashU.com, a prepaid online payments card. The online portal is also in the business of developing e-commerce capabilities for its clients. Maktoob also provides e-mail, chat rooms and information and entertainment portal services.

Touqan said that CashU.com has 30,000 account holders, with 60 million page views per month and 1.6 million unique visitors every month, which already makes CashU.com an excellent company. “We see Maktoob growing as large as some of the big online providers in the developed economies of the west in the next few years,” he added.

Amman,20June2005
Redaction
The Star


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