Dubai-based daily deals website Cobone.com has been acquired by US investment firm Tiger Global Management for an undisclosed amount.
The deal for Cobone.com, which was founded in April 2010 and competes with Groupon in the Middle East, will see parent company Jabbar Internet Group exit its investment in the online firm.
Cobone.com’s Irish founder Paul Kenny and other senior executives will remain following the deal, which a statement said would provide it with additional capital to fund long-term commitments in the Middle East.
“Tiger Global gives us the international clout and the financial resources to expand regionally and surpass already high customer expectations,” Kenny said.
“Loyal Cobone users can look forward to many exciting developments and innovative offerings in the very near future.”
Cobone.com does not disclose its revenues or whether it is profitable, but says it has a user base or more than 2m and has sold more 1.5m online discounts. Financial details of the Tiger transaction were not disclosed, but US internet start-up news site TechCrunch estimated the sale to be worth nearly US$40m.
"This deal represents the international recognition of a highly successful local business. With Paul Kenny, we created a company that lead the way in regional group buying, and took on global players on our own turf,” added Jabbar Internet Group chairman Samih Toukan.
“While this deal represents a successful exit for the Jabbar Group, we have little doubt in Cobone’s commitment to the region and in Paul’s determination to continue excelling and leading his brainchild to new successes.”
The value of e-commerce-related transactions is about US$11bn a year in the Middle East, according to Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of technology consultancy Arab Advisors Group.
Among the Gulf states, the UAE leads the way in e-commerce spending with sales reaching about US$2bn in 2010, according to a study by Visa and Interactive Media in Retail Group International.
The UAE's online spending equated to 55 percent to 60 percent of total GCC e-commerce sales. Saudi Arabia was the second largest market, with an estimated US$520m, followed by Qatar (US$375m), Kuwait (US$280m), Bahrain (US$175m) and Oman (US$70m), according to the study.
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