Yahoo! enters Arab market with Maktoob purchase
Maktoob.com will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo! once the deal is closed later this year
Yahoo! will acquire regional online media brand Maktoob.com in a deal that’s believed to be worth $100m.
At a press conference to announce the agreement, Keith Nilsson, VP of emerging markets at Yahoo!, stated that the company was attracted to Maktoob because of its strong management team, global brand name and sales force in the region.
“The emerging markets are an important part of Yahoo!’s current business, representing a significant portion of our 600 million users that come to Yahoo! every month. With online users and ad penetration at its infancy, we see tremendous growth potential in this region and across the emerging markets,” Nilsson stated. “We will be combining Yahoo!s technology platforms with Maktoob’s local content channels and communities to create the leading Arabic language portal.”
The deal marks Yahoo's first major move into the Middle East region and is expected to clsoe in the fourth quarter of this year.
Though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the ArabCrunch tech blog estimates that it could be worth a staggering $100 million. Yahoo! would only admit to investing ‘heavily’ in the region.
Maktoob.com, including Maktoob Research, will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo! once the acquisition is completed later this year and will be co-branded going forward. A joint microsite can be accessed through the URL: maktoob.yahoo.com
Maktoob Group’s other entities - Souq.com, CashU.com, Araby.com and Tahadi.com - will be part of a new company called Jabbar Internet Group that will have a focus on e-commerce and be managed by Maktoob founder Samih Toukan.
“I remember back in 2001, whenever anyone asked me about Maktoob, I’d say we’re kind of like the Yahoo! of the Middle East. With this announcement today I’m really excited to say that, after this acquisition is completed, we’ll be saying we are the Yahoo! of the Middle East,” added Ahmed Nassef, VP of Maktoob Group and GM of Maktoob.com.
“The coming together of these two companies here in the region will change the landscape of online media and the internet moving forward for the whole industry,” Nassef concluded.
Nilsson also revealed that Mail and Messenger would be the first Yahoo! services to go live through the Maktoob partnership sometime in 2010.