Jabbar group takes control of Dubai’s Cobone

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Jabbar Group, the leading company in consumer e-commerce in the Arab World, has taken full control of Cobone.com, Dubai’s leading daily-deals website. The move is the latest in a series of investments in the Middle East.

Cobone said Sunday it had raised an undisclosed amount of second-round funding from Jabbar, after the company bought out a minority shareholder.

The takeover and additional capital will allow Cobone to significantly grow its operations, its founder and CEO told Arabian Business.

“We’re going to start hiring much more people. Since the fund has closed we’ve hired an additional 40 people. We’re about 80 [staff] now, I’d say we’ll be two and a half times that by the end of the year,” said Paul Kenny.

“We’re going to upscale operations in every country. To date we have six offices in the region, we have people in all and we plan on expanding in each country. We also plan on offering new products,” Kenny said.

Launched in August 2010, Cobone.com is one of the fastest growing group buying websites in the region, it competes with GoNabit which was?acquired by LivingSocial?and other local group buying sites in the region.

Cobone said in a press release that it has grown its registered user base from 1,000 to 600,000, to whom more than 240,000 coupons were sold and $13 million in savings.?Cobone.com?already has 75 employees operational in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

UAE-based Groupon, which claimed 50 million subscribers at the start of the year, rejected a reported $5bn takeover bid from Google last year. The firm, despite being unprofitable, could be valued as much as $20bn in its planned IPO, analysts have said

Group-buying deal sites that offer local discount deals to consumers have gotten a lot of attention in the last year.? Since the start of online group buying many sites have been developed and launched using the group-buying deal model. Groupon?s main competitor, LivingSocial, which recently received additional funding from Amazon, operates on a somewhat different model, as there is no minimum number of people needed to make a deal valid. For businesses with quality products and services, group-buying deal sites can help getting exposure to new customers and drive business, but business owners need to be sure that they know what they are offering and understand the projected return on investment.

About Jabbar:

Jabbar Internet Group was formed after the acquisition of Maktoob by Yahoo, in 2009. Jabbar invests in leading internet businesses in the region, mainly in the consumer e-commerce field. Their companies include?souq.com, the largest market place in the region, cashu.com, the leading alternative online payment solution, and Sukar.com?and?Cobone.com, the private shopping club and group buying services. Jabbar Internet Group also owns?Ikoo.com, the leading online advertising network, Joob.com, the travel site and?Tahadi.com, a games company.

The group?s assets extend from e-commerce sites to online games, to advertising products & search services.

Sources: arabcrunch, itp, econsultancy, advmediaproductions

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