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January 3, 2022 8:22 am

MENA M&A exceeds $68B in 2021

Valued at $12.4B, Aramco deal biggest in 2021
Saudi Tadawul

Global merger and acquisitions deals (M&A) exceeded $4.4 trillion in the first nine months of 2021, a massive increase of 92% from a year earlier, according to global data platform Refinitiv.

The platform, which is the global provider of financial markets data and infrastructure, said that 2021 “was the strongest in M&As” since these data started being recorded back in 1980. It added that the volume of these operations exceeded in the first nine months of 2021 the volume of transactions registered and completed throughout the entire year of 2015, which stood at $4.3 trillion.

M&As during the third quarter of 2021 marked the fifth consecutive month where the deals’ value crossed the trillion dollar threshold, with transactions totaling $1.6 trillion.

The volume of completed M&A deals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which were announced during the first nine months of 2021, amounted to about $68.6 billion, an increase of 17% over the same period from 2020, according to the platform.

Refinitiv’s report noted that Saudi Arabia led the M&A activity with $19.5 billion, or 42% of the targeted M&As in the MENA region.

The largest deal in the MENA region, was also from Saudi Arabia, where Saudi Aramco sold a 49% stake in its pipeline business to a consortium led by U.S. based EIG company for a whopping $12.4 billion, making it one of the world’s largest energy infrastructure transactions.

As per the agreement, the EIG-led consortium nailed the 49% equity stake in Aramco’s new entity, Aramco Oil Pipelines Co., with rights to 25-years of tariff payments for oil transported through Aramco’s stabilized crude oil pipeline network.

Aramco retained the controlling stake, i.e. 51% of the new company.

In another high-profile Denmark’s DSV Panalpina (renamed DSV A/S) signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Agility to acquire Agility Global Integrated Logistics (GIL) business for $4.07 billion back in August 2021.

This deal is expected to create a top-three worldwide freight forwarder based on revenues. Agility also became the second largest shareholder in DSV with nearly 8% stake in the joint company.

The most prominent M&As among startups

The market for M&A related to startup companies in the Arab world witnessed a significant growth during 2021. This included:

  • The merger of Dubai-based Egyptian startup SWVL with Queen’s Gambit.
  • The Swedish company Stillfront group acquired the Jordanian electronic games platform Jawaker, based in Abu Dhabi. The transaction value was $205 million.
  • Saudi Tamer Group’s acquisition of a majority stake in Mumzworld, a platform specialized in selling maternal and child products, which was established in Dubai in 2011.
  • US logistics company Reef Technology acquired Emirati cloud kitchen startup Ikon in an undisclosed deal.
  • The British group Inspired Education acquired Ostaz, a Lebanese educational platform. The value of the deal was undisclosed.
  • The acquisition of the Dubai and Cairo-based Egyptian platform Eventtus, was acquired by American events organizer Bevy.
  • Nigerian health tech startup Helium Health acquired Qatari doctor booking platform Meddy in an undisclosed deal.
  • Australia’s Zip acquired UAE-based startup Spotii, a fintech/buy now, pay-later platform. The value of this deal was $16.3 million.
  • German international company, Delivery Hero, acquired the Emirati grocery app Instashop, in a deal valued at about $360 million.