Yahoo (YHOO) acquired an Arabic web portal Maktoob a few hours ago, the company announced this morning.
No word on the financial terms, but TechCrunch estimates it at $85 million.
Founded in 2000, Maktoob has more than 16.5 million unique users, and offers search, social networking and payments under verticals like Souq and cashU. But the Yahoo acquisition does not include them all.
As per the deal, Souq.com, cashU.com and other Maktoob group companies Araby.com and Tahadi.com will operate as a new company called the Jabbar Internet Group, which will be promoted on the Yahoo website.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz: “This acquisition will accelerate Yahoo!’s strategy of expanding in high-growth emerging markets where we believe Yahoo! has unparalleled opportunity to become the destination of choice for consumers,”
Keith Nilsson, Yahoo’s SVP of Emerging Markets: 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 there with high quality products. This is a big win for publishers, advertisers, and consumers in the region.”
Maktoob.com is typically accessed in UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Internet users in these areas will now have access to Yahoo’s content in Arabic, including Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Mail, Yahoo announced on its blog:
Initially, we’ll plan to introduce Arabic versions of Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, Search, and our homepage and then eventually local versions of properties like News, Sports, and Finance. We’ll also focus on creating content and services tailored to the region. No other global company has made this kind of investment in local relevance for the Arab world.
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