By Neil Halligan
US internet giant says it wants to 'streamline' its business in the region
Yahoo will close its last Middle East office in Dubai next year, as the US internet giant looks to “streamline” its business.
The 50 members of staff at the office in Internet City were informed of the decision on Tuesday to close the office in April 2016.
The Dubai office, which is the company’s only Middle East operation following the closure of offices in Amman and Cairo, opened in 2009 when it acquired the Jordan-based Maktoob for $164 million, with a view to bolstering its presence in the region.
The company employed as many 400 people at one point, before the Jordan and Egypt offices were closed in 2014.
In January this year, Yahoo let go almost half of its staff in Dubai, but remained adamant about its future presence in the region.
A Yahoo spokesperson said in a statement the company would continue to offer its regional services to customers in Arabic and English.
“Today we informed our Dubai-based employees that we’ve made the difficult decision to close the office by the end of April as a part of Yahoo’s effort to streamline our business and set the company up for long-term growth. We are incredibly grateful for our employees’ hard work and contributions. We will continue to provide our suite of consumer services in Arabic and English and our advertising inventory through Yahoo marketplaces and other advertising exchanges.”
The decision to close the office comes as Yahoo looks to revive its core business of selling ads on its popular news and sports websites.
Last week, the company shelved plans to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, and said instead it is looking at creating a separate company to hold the rest of its assets.
The company, overtaken by Google, Facebook and others since pioneering the commercial web in the 1990s, said it had no plans to sell its core business, as some investors had hoped, but the move effectively invites offers for the new entity.
The new publicly traded company will house Yahoo's Internet business and its 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan. Its Alibaba stake, worth more than $30 billion, accounts for the bulk of Yahoo's current market value of $32 billion.