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etisalat by e& has acquired the UAE-based online marketplace for household services, ServiceMarket. This acquisition is in line with the Group’s strategy to empower consumers, strengthen Smiles's online marketplace presence and drive diversification of their business.
After a record year of exits in 2022 the M&A frenzy is continuing into this year. The Emerging Venture Markets recorded 146 exits last year with the MENA region accounting for almost 50% of the total number. UAE led the M&A activity with KSA and Egypt bringing up the rear. A number of cross-market acquisitions were seen with international players marking their entry into the region. At the beginning of this year, we predicted that consolidation and acquisitions are most likely to be the rite of passage for a number of startups given the challenges of raising funds in an environment of higher interest rates, a subdued IPO market globally, and more urgent cash conservation imperatives. Interestingly, the exits recorded in the year so far have all been by UAE-based startups including the likes of Paymennt.com and Namshi.
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Etisalat Group changed its brand identity to e& last year. The company says its strategy aims to accelerate growth through the creation of a resilient business model. It’s bringing next-generation technologies through smart platforms in entertainment, retail, and financial technology. e& enterprise focuses on maximizing value through its end-to-end solutions in cybersecurity, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as deploying mega projects, in order to enable the digital transformation of governments, large-scale enterprises, and corporates. Khaled ElKhouly, Chief Consumer Officer of etisalat by e& said: “The online household services market has demonstrated strong growth over the past few years with an increasing number of consumers preferring to access a broad range of services at the comfort of their homes, and through digital platforms, they can trust. As a pioneer in the digital transformation journey for all UAE citizens, we have been expanding our portfolio of lifestyle services on the Smiles platform, including the recent addition of food and grocery delivery services. This acquisition is in line with our strategy to continue enriching the lives of our customers with a convenient range of services, within the Smiles ecosystem and drive diversification of our business.”
ServiceMarket will complement etisalat by e&’s existing marketplace services under the brand ‘Smiles’ which already includes online food and grocery delivery, lifestyle offers, and the ability to earn and redeem points at outlets across the UAE. Bana Shomali, Chief Executive Officer of ServiceMarket said: “We are excited to join the etisalat by e& family which will enable ServiceMarket to leverage e&’s digital capabilities and customer base to accelerate our growth and unlock significant synergies. As part of the Smiles ecosystem, we will continue to provide best-in-class services to consumers in the UAE and enrich our portfolio with new services to offer greater convenience every day.”
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