Parent firms of Bayut, Dubizzle to merge, form Dubai unicorn

The agreement includes a $150m (AED550m) investment round, led by existing EMPG shareholders and OLX group

Parent firms of Bayut, Dubizzle to merge, form Dubai unicorn
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Parent firms of Bayut, Dubizzle to merge, form Dubai unicorn

Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) and OLX Group, the owners of homegrown real estate technology firms Bayut and dubizzle, have announced the merger of their MENA and South Asia operations to form a $1bn (AED3.6bn) Dubai-based unicorn company.

The agreement includes a $150m (AED550m) 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 the EMPG’s fold as well.

The aggregated value of properties sold in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan is estimated at $89.8bn (AED330bn), providing a commission pool for real estate agencies of more than $1.9bn (AED7bn) 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, according to the state-run Dubai Media Office.

Coming less than a year and a half after Uber’s $3.1bn acquisition of local ride-hailing company Careem, the latest Dubai startup success story.

Other such successes include 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.

The Head of EMPG - MENA, Haider Ali Khan, said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

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