Dubai’s EMPG, OLX announce merger, forming $1 bln unicorn start up

Dubai’s EMPG, OLX announce merger, forming $1 bln unicorn start up

Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), owner of property portal Bayut, and OLX Group, owner of online marketplace dubizzle, have announced a merger forming a 3.6 billion dirham ($1 billion) Dubai-based unicorn startup, according to the government of Dubai’s media office.

The merger will see operations from the two companies in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia combine to create the region’s only independent unicorn company, a term used to refer to a startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more.

“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,” said Ammar Al Malik, managing director of Dubai Internet City, where Bayut and dubizzle both started, in the media release.

The deal is the third largest technology deal in the region in last few years. In 2017, Amazon bought online retailer Souq.com for 2.13 billion dirhams ($580 million), while last year ride-hailing company Uber bought Dubai-based Careem for $3.1 billion.

“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 – MENA in the release.

The merger, which was first reported in late April, includes a $150 million investment round for EMPG, led by OLX which will retain a 39 percent stake in the new company and make it EMPG’s largest shareholder.

Following the merger, both dubizzle and Bayut in the UAE will be operated by EMPG, along with Zameen in Pakistan, Bproperty in Bangladesh, Mubawab in Morocco and Tunisia, and Kaidee in Thailand. OLX entities in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and several GCC countries will also become part of EMPG.

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