Deal follows close of $100m funding round by Bayut’s parent company in February

UAE property listings and research firm Bayut acquired Lamudi, a rival portal owned by technology firm Middle East Internet Group, for an undisclosed sum, and said it plans to launch Bayut’s expanded operations in Saudi Arabia “very shortly”.

“With a network of sites operating in the region, we are very well placed to maximise consumers’ reach and clients’ exposure across a broader region,” said Haider Khan, founder and chief executive of Bayut.

Middle East Internet Group, formed by venture capital firm Rocket Internet, has launched various e-commerce ventures in the region including online shopping website Wadi.com.

It launched Lamudi.sa as the first real estate portal in Saudi Arabia in 2012, followed by Lamudi.jo in Jordan. It launched Lamudi.ae in the UAE in 2015. Under the deal, Bayut will take ownership of all of Lamudi’s assets in the GCC.

The acquisition of Lamudi Middle East provides “the ideal platform for Bayut to expand its footprint in the GCC”, especially in the kingdom – the Arab world’s biggest economy and the largest property market in the region.

“Bayut has always focused on providing the most locally-tuned solution to the market and the intention behind this acquisition is to take that philosophy to the greater GCC region, with a focus on Saudi Arabia,” Mr Khan added.

The acquisition comes after Bayut’s parent company Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) closed a $100 million investment round in February – its largest fundraising round following a $50m round last year.

In addition to Bayut.com, EMPG owns and operates Zameen.com in Pakistan, Bproperty.com in Bangladesh and Mubawab.ma in Morocco.

Bayut’s deal comes amid heightened merger and acquisition activity among the UAE’s real estate portals. On Monday, Dubai-based Property Finder said it agreed to buy rival portal operator JRD Group for an undisclosed sum, after increasing its stake in Zingat – the second largest property portal in Turkey – to almost 40 per cent earlier this month.

Source: National