Maktoob.com sells 40% stake to Abraaj Capital

Arab web portal Maktoob.com has sold a US$5 million stake to private equity firm Abraaj Capital, in a deal that sees the finance company take 40% control of the online business.

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By  Tim Addington Published  June 15, 2005

Arab web portal Maktoob.com has sold a US$5 million stake to private equity firm Abraaj Capital, in a deal that sees the finance company take 40% control of the online business. The acquisition was made through the US$116 million Abraaj Buyout Fund, and values Maktoob.com at US$12.5 million. “Maktoob.com is a visionary web community, a portal to a dedicated and comprehensive Arabic online service that is already widely successful, and with the collective input of the management and the new board, will be able to realise its goal of becoming the leading online community and e-commerce portal of the Arab world,” said Humayun Shahryar, executive director of Abraaj Capital. Maktoob, which was launched as the world’s first free Arabic/English web-based email service in the year 2000, has proven popular with Arabic speakers. Samih Toukan, chief executive officer at Maktoob.com, said that the web portal would continue to build its core customer base, expand its team and grow by acquiring and merging with other players in the region. Maktoob has already acquired three companies since the beginning of 2005 and now with additional funding plans to aggressively target other companies “We are already the Arab world’s most popular web community, with almost four million registered users. With the injection of expertise, experience and investment provided by Abraaj Capital, we hope to accelerate our growth plans and take our rightful place as the Arab world’s leading online partner,” said Toukan. “Maktoob offers a powerful Arabic email technology that does not require the support of an Arabic operating system. It owns its proprietary online auction software and has a user base of 3.9 million community members growing at 3,000 members every day. Its 30,000 CashU account holders, 60 million page views per month and 1.6 million unique visitors every month, already makes it an excellent company. We see Maktoob growing as large as some of the big online providers in the developed economies of the West in the next few years,” Toukan added.

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