With the influx of new deal sites in the region few months ago, some key players started to feel the saturation. First it was Living Social to exit the market in August 2012 and now Cobone.com is in talks for a potential sale.
Cobone.com is in talks with an Egyptian venture capital firm over a sale for up to US$40 million (Dh146.9m) in cash. OTVentures, an affiliate of Orascom Telecom, Media & Technology based in Cairo, has made an offer to buy Cobone, as per a report published on The National newspaper, an Abu Dhabi based news paper. The news first appeared on Mubasher.info who quoted that Orascom Telecom was studying the purchase of 88% stake in Cobone.com, owned by Jabbar Group.
Paul Kenny, CEO, Cobone.com, refused to comment on this development when contacted by Tfour.me via email.
The Middle East’s ecommerce market is valued at $11 billion according to an article published in Arabian Business. GoNabit’s acquisition by LivingSocial in 2011 was seen by many as a great potential in the e-commerce sector but its exit this year raises questions and challenges for entrepreneurs that they must overcome.
Founded in 2010, Cobone.com crossed the 1.6 million subscribers and has saved customers over AED 240 million in the process, earlier this year in August. Henri Hazoughi, co-founder and regional sales head left Cobone.com on Wednesday.
Jabbar Group boasts a powerful portfolio of Internet websites including Souq.com, the online shopping mall, Cashu.com, a payment service provider, Sukar.com, the online shopping club, Ikoo.com, an advertising network, Nibras, a learning portal for further education, and Tahadi.com, a gaming website.
Yahoo had acquired Maktoob.com in 2009 a Jabbar group portal that offers services including search, payments, social network etc.
While the big players like Living Social, Groupon and Cobone have worked out their regional strategies, it would be interesting to see how the smaller deal sites cope up with competition.