Alabbar’s Emaar Malls acquires 51% stake in Rocket Internet’s Dubai-based Namshi for $151 million

Mohamed Alabbar’s Emaar Malls has acquired a 51% stake in Namshi for $151 million in an all-cash trasaction. That makes 5-year old Namshi valued at $300 million. Co-founded by Hosam Arab, Faraz Khalid and Hisham Zarka; Namshi has more than 50,000 products and serves customers in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. Emaar Malls had also countered Amazon’s bid and tried to acquire earlier this year for $800 million but it was not successful. He is also building his ‘billion-dollar’ startup Noon which is backed by Saudi Public Investment fund a group of regional investors led by Alabbar himself and he seems to be on shopping spree to acquire competition.

This is his second ecommerce acquisition in the region within one month. He had earlier acquired the ecommerce marketplace JadoPado for an undisclosed amount. Omar Kassim, Founder of JadoPado who had joined Noon as a Chief Technology Officer has stepped down within three weeks of joining the company and that’s not it. Noon is facing a lot of other issues as well; the website was supposed to launch in January earlier but has been delayed and there’s no particular word on when exactly it will go live.

“The acquisition of a majority stake in Namshi underlines our digital-driven strategy to leverage the growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa region. Namshi offers a perfect fit for Emaar Malls in accelerating its focus on multi-channel retailing, and creating long-term value for its stakeholders.” said Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar Malls Chairman.

Rocket Internet will continue to have 49% of Namshi’s stake through its Global Fashion Group. Namshi has been one of top ecommerce destinations for fashion in the region. The company had more than $150 million in revenues in 2016 with positive cash-flow and profitability.

Thew news received mixed reactions on Twitter.

“We are very excited to welcome Emaar Malls as our majority shareholder. We are confident that this partnership will unlock further opportunities and help accelerate the development of Namshi for the benefit of our customers. We would like to congratulate and thank our team for their tireless efforts in making Namshi the Middle East’s premier fashion ecommerce destination and we look forward to continuing this journey together with Emaar Malls and GFG.” said Hosam Arab, Managing Director of Namshi.

“We are proud of how Namshi contributes to the growth and vibrancy of e-commerce in the Middle East since its inception in 2012 and I would like to congratulate the management team for their great accomplishment. With the complementary strengths of Emaar Malls and GFG, Namshi is now more than ever uniquely positioned to be the best long term partner for fashion brands and customers in the region. GFG’s partnership with Emaar Malls follows the Group’s strong performance in 2016 and is another step in our journey to create sustainable, profitable fashion ecommerce leaders in each of our regions.” said Romain Voog, CEO of Global Fashion Group.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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