A newly formed subsidiary of private global investment company Priora Management Holding Dubai announced the acquisition of Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA), the largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the region, with active operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait under the brands Virgin Mobile and Friendi Mobile.
The agreement marks the first for Beyond ONE, a TMT sector investment and operations company founded in Dubai in 2021. It is also the first foreign ownership transaction to be approved under the 2021 Royal Decree, which allows foreign direct investment and full ownership of organizations in a variety of sectors within the Kingdom.
Since its founding in 2006, VMMEA, a pioneering MVNO in the Middle East, has seen significant success. It now serves more than three million users across several GCC nations and runs profitable, market-leading digital communication platforms for both its Virgin Mobile and Friendi Mobile operations. Virgin Group invests alongside Beyond ONE in the deal, keeping a small ownership stake in the business and a board seat.
Markus Tagger, Group CEO of Beyond ONE, said: “We are looking at the acquisition of companies with a strong position and significant growth potential in their respective markets; VMMEA’s operations comfortably meet these requirements. Both Virgin Mobile and Friendi Mobile benefit from strong brand equity and significant trust from their customers, partners and employees, and we will do what is in our power to maintain this.”
Beyond ONE acquires the entire operation of VMMEA and is increasing its shareholding to control positions in all local country operations by buying out minority shareholders. For VMMEA, the timing of the acquisition is on track with the long-term strategy agreed upon by its shareholder base following its successful 15-year growth path.
Josh Bayliss, CEO of the Virgin Group, noted: “Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa. Virgin Group is a long-standing investor in the company and is looking forward to the partnership with Beyond ONE as it heralds a new digital future for the region. Beyond ONE’s investment is testament to the opportunity which lies ahead — for customers, employees and the countries in which Virgin Mobile operates — in bringing better mobile connectivity to consumers and businesses.”The acquisition confirms the most recent findings on global M&A activity for the sector and expresses confidence in the TMT sector's continued growth potential in the region.