Ben Flanagan | October 29, 2012
Souq.com, the Dubai-based e-commerce portal, has attracted a multimillion-dollar investment it says will help fund its expansion in Qatar and Bahrain.
The South African internet group Naspers has invested in the site, along with the New York-based Tiger Global Management, which already held a stake in Souq.com.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, the chief executive of Souq.com, said that the deal closed today.
“It’s a sizable… minority investment in Souq,” he said.
Sources close to the negotiations say the investment marked a multimillion-dollar deal, although Mr Mouchawar declined to specify the exact value.
Souq.com currently ships goods to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, and Mr Mouchawar said part of the new investment would go towards geographical expansion.
“We’re still not shipping to Qatar or Bahrain, so those are the areas we will look at in the future,” he said.
The site will also expand into new categories such as fashion and lifestyle, and open logistics centers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, he added.
Naspers already has interests in the Middle East, having in 2010 acquired a stake in the Dubai-based classifieds website Dubizzle.
Souq.com claims to be the largest e-commerce site in the Middle East and North Africa, with 8 million unique visits per month and a customer base of 3.5 million.
The Souq.com group of companies includes the sites www.souq.com, www.sukar.com and www.run2sport.com. It is part of the Jabbar Internet Group, which also has a stake in the daily deals website Cobone.