FTI advises e&'s acquisition of UAE online marketplace ServiceMarket

01 March 2023 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

Emirati-based multinational telecommunications company etisalat by e& (e&) has acquired ServiceMarket, an online marketplace for all kinds of home and household services. FTI provided buy-side advisory to the transaction.

Founded in 2013 by two former McKinsey & Company consultants (Bana Shomali and Wim Torfs), ServiceMarket initially launched as MoveSouq, focused on providing moving services for relocating Dubai residents. But as the platform expanded into all kinds of other services, from cleaning and gardening to maids, MoveSouq rebranded as ServiceMarket.

Having bagged several funding rounds to drive its growth over the past decade, today ServiceMarket offers more than 40 services and claims to be the UAE’s market leader in the online household and home improvement segments.

FTI advises e&'s acquisition of UAE online marketplace ServiceMarket

Now fully owned by e& (formerly known as Etisalat Group), ServiceMarket will complement e&’s existing marketplace services under the brand ‘Smiles’ which already includes online food and grocery delivery, lifestyle offers and the ability to earn and redeem points at more than 10,000 outlets across the UAE.

“The online household services market has demonstrated strong growth over the past few years with an increasing number of consumers preferring to access a broad range of services at the comfort of their homes, and through digital platforms they can trust,” said Khaled ElKhouly, Chief Consumer Officer of e&.

“As a pioneer in the digital transformation journey for all UAE citizens, we have been expanding our portfolio of lifestyle services on the Smiles platform, including the recent addition of food and grocery delivery services. This acquisition is in line with our strategy to continue enriching the lives of our customers with convenient range of services, within the Smiles ecosystem and drive diversification of our business,” he added.

ElKhouly’s deal team worked with a number of M&A advisors during the deal, with FTI Consulting subsidiary FTI Capital Advisors acting as lead financial advisor.

Fede Membrillera, a Senior Managing Director at FTI Capital Advisors, stated: “With this transaction, e& has demonstrated its commitment to expand its consumer offering beyond traditional communication services and stay relevant to changing customer demands in the consumer space. We were pleased to have an opportunity to leverage our decade-long M&A experience in the digital-native consumer services space to support e&’s strategic goal.”

In ConsultancyME’s latest benchmark of dealmakers, FTI Consulting ranks as one of the Middle East’s leading consulting firms for mergers & acquisitions.

Meanwhile, for ServiceMarket, the joining of forces with the powerhouse (e& ranks among the 20 largest mobile network operators in the world by number of subscribers) will enable the scale-up to “accelerate our growth and unlock significant synergies,” said co-founder Shomali.

“As part of the Smiles ecosystem, we will continue to provide best-in-class services to consumers in the UAE and enrich our portfolio with new services to offer greater convenience every day,” she added.