TV giant Discovery acquires Dubai media firm

Factual TV firm inks deal for Takhayal Entertainment and units based in Dubai, Egypt

Factual TV network Discovery on Tuesday announced an agreement to acquire Dubai-based media company Takhayal Entertainment and its affiliated companies in Dubai and Egypt.

The acquisition includes its flagship TV network, Fatafeat, the number one food network in the Middle East.

The parties said in a statement that they are in final stages of formalising the transfer with the competent authorities.

The announcement was made by Takhayal CEO Youssef El-Deeb and Mark Hollinger, CEO of Discovery Networks International.

Discovery said the transaction was a "targeted step to further extend its reach in the growing Middle East and North Africa television market" and to "further complement and strengthen its existing portfolio of female-targeted lifestyle PAY TV brands".

The acquisition also will provide access to a vast library of cooking recipes and shows and the company’s production facility.

Hollinger said: “Discovery’s guiding principle has always been to customise our strategy on a region-by-region and market-by-market basis to build the strongest global nonfiction media company bar none.

"The acquisition of Takhayal, the premier company for cuisine and culinary programming in the Middle East, significantly strengthens our portfolio in this important region and adds content in a genre that has proven popular with our viewers around the globe." 

Takhayal CEO Youssef El-Deeb added: “We have had great success with our TV brand Fatafeat, which has become one of the leading TV channels in the Middle East since it launched five years ago... and we are excited by how the rich expertise of Discovery will enable us to take the business to the next level.”

Fatafeat broadcasts to approximately 55 million TV households in the Middle East and North Africa and the in-house studio contains a library of 700 hours of programmes.

The popular line-up of shows includes Teslam El Ayadi (family cooking show), Matbakhna El Arabi (Our Arabian Cuisine hosted by award-winning chef, Mohammad Orfali), Shourba Wi Naknaka (Soups and Snacks), Houriyat Al Matbakh (Arabic and international cooking) and Wala Bil Ahlam (‘Dream Desserts’ from Egyptian award winning chef, Nermine Hanno).

Discovery Communications’ portfolio of global brands is led by Discovery Channel, which is available in 217 markets.

Takhayal Entertainment will be managed as part of Discovery’s Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region led by Kasia Kieli, president and managing director.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to occur by the end of 2012.

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