Argaam-parent SRMG acquires 51 percent stake in Arabic podcast platform Thmanyah for ~$9 million

Saudi Research & Media Group (SRMG), a public company that’s behind leading media brands including Argaam, Arab News, Asharq Al-Awsat, and Asharq News, has acquired a 51 percent stake in the Arabic podcast platform Thmanyah, it announced today.

Thmanyah produces podcasts and documentaries in Arabic with over 2.2 million people listening to its shows every month. Its leading talk show Fnjan attracts 1.6 million monthly listeners on average. The platform is also behind Swalif Business, Socrates, and Things That Changed Us. The startup has also produced  90 documentaries and short films to date that have been watched by over 15 million viewers.

As SRMG is a listed on Tadawul, they shared the financial details of the transaction in their stock exchange filing. To acquire 51 percent of Thmanyah, the Saudi media company is paying SAR 33.3 million or about $9 million, which gives the podcasting startup a valuation of $17.4 million. The transaction includes purchase price and capital that SRMG will inject in growth of the startup, stated the filing, without sharing the breakdown.

Thmanyah, according to publicly available data grew its revenue by 75 percent in 2020 (YoY) to $1.17 million. Its net profit, however, for the same period declined by 30 percent to $310,000.

The acquisition is part of is SRMG’s new digital-first, multi-platform approach and commitment to delivering original, unique and exclusive content to consumers through new digital and social platforms, noted the statement, adding that the company will use its global network and reach to help Thmanyah’s growth ambitions into new genres and geographies.

Jomana Al-Rashid, CEO of SRMG, commenting on occassion, said, “By acquiring one of the leading Arabic podcast platforms and documentary producers, we are reinforcing our commitment to providing our audiences with original, exclusive and premium content through new digital platforms. The global podcast market is expected to grow in value to around $3.9 billion in the next two years, enabling forward-thinking and creative platforms to capture new audiences and capitalize on monetization opportunities, such as advertising revenues.”

“With its award-winning podcasts and documentaries, Thmanyah presents an exciting opportunity for us to explore new ideas and openings in this space. We look forward to welcoming the Thmanyah team on board and working with them to help grow the business into new genres and geographies,” she added.

Abdulrahman Abumalih, the founder and  CEO of Thmanyah, said, “We are delighted to be joining SRMG, a leading source of news, information and lifestyle content for people in the MENA region and around the world. In the five years since Thmanyah was founded, we have grown steadily with a clear focus on delivering quality content to the region’s expanding digital audiences through our podcasts and documentaries. We will continue growing and will use this investment to create more content and tap into new audiences.”

In a Twitter thread announcing the acquisition, he also highlighted that Thmanyah will continue to have an indepdent editoral and use SRMG’s resources to advance its mission.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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