Source: Emirates News Agency
Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group, EMPG, and OLX Group, owners of home grown technology firms Bayut and Dubizzle, have announced the merger of their MENA and South Asia operations to form an AED3.6 billion (US$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 AED550 million (US$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 percent 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.
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.
"The success of Dubizzle and Bayut shows once again that the UAE’s technology sector is growing thanks to the vision of our leaders to create a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy," he added.
The Head of EMPG - MENA, Haider Ali Khan, commented, "This deal would not have been possible without the supportive business environment created in Dubai which has paved the way for companies such as ours to grow and expand both locally and in the region,"
"This merger of EMPG and OLX will allow us to better serve our customers, given that both operate brands with a strong following and will allow us to leverage existing tech and data to paint a more accurate picture of the state of affairs in the real estate industry across the region. At the same time, we will be making significant technology investments to provide more value to all users of property, automotive and other segments of the Dubizzle and OLX platforms. I look forward to a bright and prosperous future for the group," he added.
The aggregated value of properties sold in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan is estimated at AED330 billion, providing a commission pool for real estate agencies of over AED7 billion per annum. This presents a great opportunity for EMPG – the latest unicorn company in Dubai – to enhance its real estate services.