Advised Saffar on its sale of online business intelligence platform Zawya to Thomson Reuters
Jun 2012
acquired by
  • Sector: Data & Information; Fintech, WealthTech & InsurTech
  • Deal Type: Strategic Deals; Venture Capital Exits
  • Engagement type: Sellside
  • Size: <$200m

Arma Partners is pleased to announce that it acted as exclusive financial adviser to Saffar Capital (“Saffar”) on the sale of Zawya Limited (“Zawya”) to Thomson Reuters, Inc. (“Thomson Reuters”).

Zawya is the leading independent subscription provider of online proprietary data, business intelligence and unique financial information in the Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”) region. Zawya enables approximately 750,000 unique visitors to find and connect to the best business and investment opportunities in the region.

Saffar’s investment in Zawya is one of the most successful internet and media investments in the MENA region. Since Saffar’s acquisition of a majority stake in the company, Zawya has grown from a start-up to become the leading MENA business information platform, reflecting Saffar’s ability to identify compelling regional investment opportunities. Saffar created sustainable value in the business by expanding the business model, forming strategic partnerships and institutionalising the corporate structure.

This transaction further illustrates Arma Partners’ leadership in advising companies within the digital media landscape, across multiple geographies, leveraging Arma’s deep domain expertise, understanding of the buyer universe and first class execution skills.

– Zawya is the leading provider of online proprietary data in the MENA region

– 3 key products:

  • Zawya Investor: comprehensive data base covering bonds, equities, private equity company financials and shareholders
  • Zawya Projects: database of infrastructure projects and financing throughout MENA
  • Zawya Business Development: company information and contact database sold primarily to MNCs

– Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals

– Delivers critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization

– With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people and operates in over 100 countries

– By combining with Zawya, Thomson Reuters would be able to provide a unique offering to the market – synergies would result in an improved and diversified line of services across the MENA markets for a broader group of users

– Zawya would provide Thomson Reuters with insight on its local markets, covering a wider spectrum of non-listed companies which would be of value to regionally focused financial professionals

– In the area of Islamic finance, Zawya had an existing community which would further allow Thomson Reuters to harness and build on their experiences. Zawya’s Sharia scholar and Sukuk database was respected and well recognized across the MENA region. The combination of Zawya and Thomson Reuters represented the best of breed proposition for Islamic Finance content

– Zawya was to be integrated into Thomson Reuter’s emerging markets (esp. CIS / MENA) business, run by Basil Moftah

– Arma Partners was appointed by Saffar to review strategic options for Zawya including financial analysis, strategic positioning, valuation, marketing materials preparation, due diligence and transaction negotiation

– Arma Partners contacted its extensive network of potential strategic partners and financial sponsors to explore value-enhancing transactions

– Arma Partners initiated contact with the eventual buyer, led price negotiations, and effected a strategic exit within a compressed timeframe

– The transaction illustrates Arma Partners’ leadership in advising companies in the digital media sector leveraging Arma’s deep domain expertise, understanding of the buyer universe and first class execution skills