Tie-up of Bayut parent company and OLX testament to Dubai’s resilience

In April EMPG secured $150m in its latest investment round, led by OLX valuing the company at $1bn

Dubai offers world-class infrastructure to entrepreneurs and start-ups that want to expand globally. Reem Mohammed / The National
Dubai offers world-class infrastructure to entrepreneurs and start-ups that want to expand globally. Reem Mohammed / The National

The tie-up between Emerging Markets Property Group and OLX Group is a testament to Dubai’s resilience despite the pandemic, which has tilted the global economy into a recession, the Dubai government said.

In an agreement announced in April, EMPG – the parent company of Dubai’s property portal Bayut – secured $150 million in an investment round led by Netherlands-based OLX. The deal valued EMPG at $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) and merged OLX’s Middle East, North Africa and South Asia businesses into it.

“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 Dubai government’s media office said on Tuesday.

With modern infrastructure and easy access to incubators and investors, Dubai provides all the “elements needed for new ventures to launch themselves on a strong footing”, it said.

In addition to Bayut in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, EMPG owns and operates property portals Zameen in Pakistan, Bproperty in Bangladesh, Mubawab in North Africa and Kaidee in Thailand.

“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,” said Haider Ali Khan, head of EMPG in the MENA region.

As part of the deal, OLX combined its operations in four countries – the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan – with EMPG and became its largest single shareholder, with a 39 per cent stake.

The aggregated value of properties sold in these markets is estimated to be $90bn, providing an annual commission pool for property agencies of $2bn.

This presents an opportunity for EMPG – the latest unicorn company in Dubai – to enhance real estate services in these markets.

OLX is a subsidiary of Naspers, a South Africa-based investor that acquired Dubai’s Dubizzle outright in April 2019 in a deal that valued the business at $409.5m.

“Even in these exceptional times, Dubai has demonstrated its attractiveness as an international investment destination,” said Ammar Al Malik, managing director of Dubai Internet City, where Bayut and Dubizzle started their businesses.

“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,” Mr Malik said.

Updated: June 2, 2020 05:58 PM


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