Internet search giant Yahoo! has acquired the Middle East’s most popular Arab online community website, Maktoob.com.
The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, will see Maktoob.com become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo!. The company will continue to be led by general manager Ahmed Nassef.
Control of Maktoob subsidiaries Souq.com, cashU.com, Araby.com, and Tahadi.com, will transferred to a new independent entity known as the Jabbar Internet Group, managed by Maktoob founder Samih Toukan. The Jabbar Internet Group will maintain a strategic relationship with Yahoo!-controlled Maktoob.
“Yahoo is acquiring Maktoob.com for the strong brand and audience it has built over the last nine years and the passionate team they have assembled, which we believe is the strongest in the region,” said Keith Nilsson, senior vice president, Emerging Markets, Yahoo!
“We see great growth potential in both audience and advertising in the Arab world and combining with Maktoob.com will allow us to quickly build our presence here with high quality products. This is a big win for publishers, advertisers, and consumers in the region.”
Maktoob.com was founded in 2000 by Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury as the world’s first free Arabic/English Web-based email service, and since then has grown to be the leading Arab online community in the region, with 16.5 million unique users per month.
Financial terms of the deal remained undisclosed at the time of press.