E-Vision, ADQ take majority stake in Starzplay Arabia | Media Investment | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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In a move that could shake up the streaming market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a consortium comprising Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company ADQ and e&-owned E-Vision has acquired a majority stake, circa 57%, in Starzplay Arabia.
evision starzplay acquisition 18March2022
The subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service streams Hollywood movies, TV shows, documentaries, the same-time-as-the-US series – plus live sports, dedicated kids’ entertainment and Arabic content – to 19 countries across MENA and Pakistan. It also carries premium titles including exclusive local original content such as Baghdad Central, STARZ Original content such as Power, Outlander, Spartacus and The White Queen as well as premium content with add-ons such as discovery+, UFC Arabia, BluTV, Premier Sports, AD Sports, PowerPlay and Majid TV.

The service has close to two million subscribers across 19 countries and until this year, Lionsgate company STARZ was the lead investor along with media and technology investment firms including SEQ Investors and Delta Partners. In early 2021, Starzplay Arabia secured its first independent financing in the region of $25 million from Abu Dhabi based Ruya Partners.

E-Vision sees the deal as giving it opportunity to further strengthen its market position in content aggregation and access the fast growth video direct-to-consumer streaming business in MENA region. The investors see the deal as enabling them is to launch new product lines, expand geographic reach and access to advanced technical capabilities. The acquisition provides potential for international expansion, using Starzplay Arabia's reach across 20 global telcos.

The e& led consortium will acquire a controlling stake in Starzplay Arabia based on a post-money valuation of $420 million, while also investing E-Vision’s existing stake and secondary investments to join the other existing shareholders, including STARZ and SEQ Investors. STARZ and Lionsgate will maintain commercial agreements for content licensing to the venture. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and certain administrative procedures.

Under its management, E-Vision sees the new company as being able to benefit from improved economies of scale and can substantially accelerate deployments across key markets in the region. With the joint investment, Starzplay Arabia can also take advantage of media content delivered by both E-Vision and ADQ portfolio companies, further optimising its content acquisition spending and Starzplay Arabia will also have immediate access to e&’s customer base.

“This acquisition is a major milestone for E-Vision and will be a catalyst for the newly formed e& life consumer digital vertical in e&,” said Khalifa Al Shamsi, CEO, e& life, and chairman of E-Vision. “Streaming platforms have drastically changed the way we consume media and have become commonplace in households around the world. Consumer expectations have also grown in line with this expansion as the demand for high-quality content and seamless streaming continues to rise. With 5G’s super-fast download speeds and low latency, we have the perfect opportunity to drive the streaming experience to new heights with viewers being able to have immersive experiences within their favourite shows and movies using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).”

Added Jaap Kalkman, group chief investment officer at ADQ: “The investment in Starzplay Arabia provides ADQ access to one of the leading SVOD and OTT service providers in the region. With its state-of-the-art technology, distribution strength and compelling and engaging content, Starzplay Arabia has developed a unique market positioning in the MENA region and is well positioned for further growth.”