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The e& led consortium consisting of E-Vision, a part of e& life, and ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company, announced the signing of a binding agreement to acquire a majority equity stake of circa 57% in STARZPLAY ARABIA, a leading subscription video on demand (SVOD) and streaming service provider in MENA.

The demand for high-quality content and seamless streaming continues to rise. Commenting on the announcement, Khalifa Al Shamsi, CEO, e& life, and chairman of E-Vision, said, “STARZPLAY ARABIA is a leading video streaming platform in MENA. 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&. This investment further strengthens our service offering and significantly enhances STARZPLAY ARABIA’s positioning across the entire MENA region.”

The e& led consortium will acquire a controlling stake in STARZPLAY ARABIA based on a post-money valuation of USD 420 million, while also investing E-Vision’s existing stake and secondary investments to join the other existing shareholders, including STARZ and SEQ investors.

Al Shamsi added, “STARZPLAY ARABIA is a great platform for us to work closely with to customize the content options for our customers. 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 favorite shows and movies using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).”

Benefiting consumers across the MENA region, this new development is expected to accelerate E-Vision’s transition from focusing on the telecom network business to providing also direct to consumer (DTC) streaming services.

Jaap Kalkman, group chief investment officer at ADQ, remarked, “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.”

With this joint investment, STARZPLAY ARABIA can leverage media content delivered by both E-Vision and ADQ portfolio companies, further optimizing its content acquisition spending. Additionally, STARZPLAY ARABIA will also gain significant scale through immediate access to e&’s vast customer base. Under E-Vision, the company stands to benefit from improved economies of scale and can substantially accelerate deployments across key markets in the region.

Maaz Sheikh, chief executive officer and co-founder of STARZPLAY ARABIA, said, “STARZPLAY ARABIA has transformed the region’s entertainment sector, bringing truly homegrown competencies to serve the fast-growing demand for streaming services. The investment by E-Vision and ADQ will enable us to grow further by focusing on original content production and advanced customer personalization.”

Overall, the acquisition provides potential for international expansion, leveraging STARZPLAY ARABIA's reach across 20 global telcos.

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