EMPG, OLX Group merger to form Dhs3.6 billion unicorn firm
June 3: Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) and OLX Group, owners of homegrown technology firms Bayut and dubizzle, have announced the merger of their Mena and South Asia operations to form an Dhs3.6 billion ($1 billion) Dubai-based unicorn company.
The merger is the latest in a series of entrepreneurial successes that reinforce Dubai's reputation as a global hub for talent, enterprise, investment and innovation.
The agreement includes an Dhs550 million ($150 million) investment round, led by existing EMPG shareholders and OLX group. With this merger OLX has become EMPG's largest single shareholder with 39% of shares. In the UAE, both dubizzle and Bayut will be operated by EMPG.
Global presence for EMPG other than the UAE includes Pakistan with Zameen, Bangladesh with Bproperty, Morocco and Tunisia with Mubawab, and Thailand with Kaidee, with all assets under EMPG ownership. In addition to dubizzle, the merger brings OLX entities in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and several GCC countries into EMPG's fold as well.
The aggregated value of properties sold in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan is estimated at Dhs 330 billion, providing a commission pool for real estate agencies of over Dhs7 billion per annum. This presents a great opportunity for EMPG - the latest unicorn company in Dubai - to enhance its real estate services.
The accomplishments of Bayut and dubizzle, which began their ventures out of Dubai Internet City, the region's largest technology hub, point to the emirate's dynamic startup ecosystem and the environment it provides innovators to present and execute their ideas.
Coming less than a year and a half after Uber's $3.1 billion acquisition of local ride-hailing company Careem, the latest Dubai startup success story also showcases the vast growth prospects and supportive environment the city offers entrepreneurial ventures.
Other such successes scripted in the last few years by Souq.com, the first unicorn company in the Middle East, acquired by Amazon; Media.Net, one of the world's largest ad tech companies; Anghami, an Arabic music streaming platform; and Wrappup, the developer of an AI-based productivity app, which was acquired by US tech firm Voicera, have shown the world how Dubai enables startups to dream big and achieve even bigger.
From world-class infrastructure to easy business setup, access to incubators and availability of smart funding, the emirate provides all the elements needed for new ventures to launch themselves on a strong footing.
Furthermore, the city is at the crossroads of the economies of the east and west and offers a gateway to the world's fastest growing markets, ensuring a plethora of business opportunities.
Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City, where Bayut and dubizzle started, said: "Even in these exceptional times, Dubai has demonstrated its attractiveness as an international investment destination."
Our infrastructure and business-friendly environment have created an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurs to scale up their ventures in a community that is home to everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies. -Gulf Today