x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

New page for The Entertainer as UAE investment fund buys 50 per cent stake

The Entertainer, a Dubai-based discounts business, has struck a deal of its own, with the sale of a 50 per cent stake to a regional investment fund.

Abraaj Investments has taken a 50 per cent stake in The Entertainer.
Abraaj Investments has taken a 50 per cent stake in The Entertainer.

The Entertainer, the Dubai-based discounts business, has struck a deal of its own, with the sale of a 50 per cent stake to a regional investment fund.

Abraaj Capital, the Middle East private-equity company, said one of its funds intends to acquire part of The Entertainer, which will help fund its international expansion.

The Entertainer sells books of discount vouchers, including two-for-one deals for restaurants, hotels, golf courses and day trips.

Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), a $650 million investment platform which is part of the Abraaj Capital, intends to acquire half of the company, the fund said in a statement issued this morning.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. RED typically makes investments of between $500,000 and $15 million, according to information on its website.

Donna Benton, chief executive of The Entertainer, said the stake purchase marked a "multimillion dollar" deal, although declined to specify an exact figure.

The Entertainer was launched in Dubai in 2001 n. It currently sells discount books in seven markets, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Cyprus.

The investment by RED will help fund its expansion into new markets, the firm said.

"RED's investment will enable The Entertainer to strengthen its operations in existing markets, expand its footprint into new geographies and execute a strategy to enable customers to buy and use the vouchers over digital mediums and mobile networks," it said in a statement.

The Entertainer told The National last year that it plans to expand the number of countries in which it offers discounts to as many as 15.

It is opening an office in Singapore, and says it is evaluating other markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Potential new markets include Hong Kong, Lebanon, Jordan, and South Africa, the company has said.

The Entertainer sold almost 100,000 books last year, and is targeting sales of between 130,000 and 140,000 in 2012.

bflanagan@thenational.ae