M.H. Alshaya Co. announced today that it has acquired a strategic stake in Noon.com, an upcoming e-commerce platform led by Dubai billionaire and Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar.
Although financial details of the deal were not disclosed, it was revealed that post the investment, Alshaya will become a seller on Noon, listing its a portfolio of fashion, lifestyle, health, beauty, and home brands on the marketplace.
In a statement, Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya, said that he expects the partnership with Noon to help expand their customer base, and reach new market segments in the region.
Alshaya currently operates more than 3,500 stores across the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, and Turkey.
Founded in 1890, it is a Kuwait-based family-owned business and owns regional rights to brands such as H&M, Mothercare, Debenhams, American Eagle Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, etc.
For Alshaya, a tie-up with a major e-commerce brand brings it up to par with its rivals in the regional market.
Retail operators like the Al Tayer Group, which announced the launch of Ounass.com to offer brands such as Valentino, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Bottega Veneta, and Jimmy Choo, are already well aboard the e-commerce train.
Even mass-market retailers, like the Landmark group, have announced recent overhauls or launches as part of their future looking e-commerce strategy.
Noon rolls on with fashion first strategy
Noon, which launched with an initial investment of $1 billion, was said to be launching in April this year, after missing its originally announced launch date of January 2017.
In May, however, it was announced by the group that the launch would eventually start operations before the end of 2017, after a serious of setbacks, which also involved losing key personnel and shifting of some operations and roles to Saudi Arabia from the UAE.
Noon, which is also backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has been clear that it would use the high-street fashion segment as a key part of its strategy to strengthen its presence in the region’s e-commerce sector.
To that effect, Noon has involved itself in other deals and acquisitions.
In 2016, Symphony Investments, an entity controlled by Alabbar, signed a pact to form a 130 million euro ($139 million) joint venture with Italian online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP).
In May this year, a tech fund led by Alabbar also acquired JadoPado, an online marketplace, absorbing its team and founder (although the founder, Omar Kassim, left his role as Noon CTO not too long after).
In the same month, Dubai’s Emaar Malls, an entity led by Alabbar in his role as Emaar Chairman, also announced that it was buying a 51% stake in e-commerce fashion website Namshi.com for $151 million from Global Fashion Group (GFG), a startup set up by Rocket Internet, in which the German e-commerce investor still has a 20% stake.
Right after that deal, Faraz Khalid, the founder of Namshi, was named the new CEO for Noon.com, and it was announced that the launch was back on track.