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Abraaj unit to acquire key stake in UAE group

Dubai, March 25, 2012

Abraaj Capital's $650 million high growth small and mid-cap investment platform, Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), plans to acquire a 50 per cent stake in The Entertainer, a boutique consumer services company based in the UAE.

Established in Dubai in 2001, The Entertainer offers two-for-one discounts at quality outlets including top restaurants, entertainment outlets, hotels and spas in the Gulf countries and Cyprus.

The Entertainer also publishes annual books for each country market containing vouchers for restaurants, hotel stays, family and leisure activities, beauty and spa treatments.

Commenting on the transaction, Tom Speechley, Red CEO said:  “The Entertainer’s regional first mover advantage and longstanding relationships with leading merchants allied with a uniquely pro-merchant business model differentiates the company from the online daily deal offerings.”

'Red’s investment will enable The Entertainer to strengthen its operations in existing markets, expand its footprint into new geographies and execute a strategy to enable customers to buy and use the vouchers over digital mediums and mobile networks,' Speechley added.

Speechley said this investment will serve to accelerate The Entertainer’s expansion, not only in the Mena region, but also in Asia where there were tremendous growth opportunities.

'Today, the US discount voucher market, serving a population of just over 300 million, is estimated to be worth $4.5 billion annually. By comparison, the Mena market, with a nearly identical population size, is currently in the very early stages of its development,' he pointed out.

'This indicates to us the scale of the opportunity for the sector and particularly for The Entertainer, which is the region’s market leader,' he said.

The Entertainer has established itself as a leading and trusted brand in the regions in which it operates, remarked CEO Donna Benton who has led the company through a path of sustained organic growth since 2001.

Some of the leading brands that partner with The Entertainer include the Jumeirah Group, Atlantis Hotel, IHG, Hyatt Group, Shangri-La, Fairmont, Hilton, Starwood and the Rotana Group.

“We are excited to be partnering with Red and look forward to rapidly expanding our geographic presence and improving usage convenience for our merchant partners and customers. We currently work with over 3,000 merchants and expect this number to be doubled in two years when we launch into Asia and other markets,” she noted.

Discussing the investment, Benton said, 'The Entertainer recorded strong growth during the period of rapid economic expansion here in the UAE and wider region. As the two-for-one voucher market is generally counter-cyclical, our growth continued following the start of the global financial crisis and over the past few years.'

'We believe that The Entertainer is now positioned for even greater success as we enter into this new partnership with Red,' Benton added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | Abraaj capital | investment | Private equity | boutique | Discount | Riyada Enterprise Development | The Entertainer |

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