UAE classifieds website Dubizzle taps Citigroup, HSBC for IPO

Dubizzle Group, which operates classifieds websites popular with expatriates in the United Arab Emirates, is working with Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc on its potential initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, formerly known as Emerging Markets Property Group, hasn’t decided on a venue for the listing but it’s likely to be a regional stock market, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. A deal could happen as soon as next year, they said.

Details of the offering such as its size and timeline are still being discussed and may change, the people said. More banks may be added to the deal at a later date, they said.

Representatives for Dubizzle, Citigroup and HSBC declined to comment.

An IPO by Dubizzle would test investor appetite for startups in the Middle East where listings have been dominated by companies in sectors with high dividend yields.

Globally, tech companies have struggled to raise funds and seen valuations plunge as high inflation and rising interest rates dented appetite for loss-making, high-growth firms.

Still, tech firms have been raising funds in the region. Dubai-based Tabby raised $58 million at the start of the year from investors including Sequoia Capital India.

Logistics startup TruKKer raised $100 million from investors including Mubadala Investment Co., while Saudi Arabia’s Tamara recently secured a $150 million debt facility from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Dubizzle, backed by tech investor Prosus NV, owns a number of classified portals across the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, according to its website.

Many of its portals are property-focused, including Bayut. Last year, the company raised $200 million in a round led by Jared Kushner’s Affinity Partners.

The company is also working with Rothschild & Co. on the possible listing, Bloomberg News reported in March.

Dubizzle achieved unicorn status in 2020 and now employs over 5,500 people across ten countries. Every month, it gets more than 167 million visits to its classifieds portals, according to its website.

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