UAE-based business news websites AMEinfo and SMEinfo have been acquired by Mediaquest Group. Financial details of the transaction were not revealed. The sites, which attract more than 2.4 million unique users monthly, were previously owned by the Top Right Group.
Duncan Painter, CEO, Top Right Group, said: “The AMEinfo and SMEinfo websites are successful, well regarded brands with a loyal, daily following. This sale will enable us to invest back into growth initiatives as we continue to create a platform for growth, particularly internationally.
Julien Hawari, the co-chief executive of Mediaquest, said the firm intends to develop the AME Info brand as well as that of its sister website SME Info. “AME Info is one of the strongest brands in the business segment in the region. Mediaquest intends to help the brand develop further,” Hawari told Al Arabiya. “Mediaquest does not intend to merge SME Info with any of its existing brands. The region suffers from a lack of employment and sites like SME Info are fantastic ways to help entrepreneurs.”
Mediaquest already owns the online ad network Dotmena, as well as websites including Kippreport.com and Jeelnar.com.
“The acquisition of AME Info makes a lot of strategic sense for Mediaquest. Today with Dotmena, Mediaquest is the largest premium ad network in the region. The arrival of extremely strong brands like AME Info and SME Info will help develop further our business offering,” Hawari said.
Alexandre Hawari, the other co-chief executive of Mediaquest, said that a SME Info conference will be held to “celebrate the best SME in the region”, referring to small and medium-sized enterprises. “It will also help the SMEs to network with venture capitalists and angel investors to help their growth.”
AME Info, which was founded in 1993, is one of the oldest news websites in the Middle East. It was acquired in 2006 by Emap for a reported $29 million. Emap last year changed its name to Top Right Group.
“Unlike MEED, the AME and SME websites operate to an advertising-led model,” said Matthew Wright, finance and operations director for Top Right Group in the Middle East and Africa. “We believe that Mediaquest, a leading media group which has an existing portfolio of advertising led portals, will be a better long term partner for the websites than we can be.”
In 2009, the private equity firm Abraaj Capital bought a minority stake in Mediaquest. A year later Mediaquest bought five magazines from rival publisher The Media Factory, including Autocar Middle East and FourFourTwo Middle East.
This is the second major transaction involving online news media in recent months. Zawya, an online business intelligence platform operating in the MENA region was bought by international business news agency Thomson Reuters for an undisclosed amount in June last year.