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Jared Kushner’s firm leads $200m funding for Dubizzle’s owner

Reuters
The UAE fund invested more than $200m with Kushner's Affinity Partners, while a Qatari entity put in an equivalent amount, the report said
  • EMPG owns UAE classifieds platforms Bayut and Dubizzle
  • Plans to increase investments in technology and prepare for IPO
  • Saudi PIF invested $2bn in Kushner’s Affinity equity fund

UAE-based unicorn Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) has completed a $200 million investment led by Affinity Partners, a global firm launched in 2021 by former US president Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

EMPG owns leading UAE classifieds platforms Bayut and Dubizzle, along with several platforms across emerging markets focused on Mena, South and Southeast Asia.

The investment round closed at a significantly higher valuation than its last one in 2020 when they were highlighted as a billion-dollar company. 

Kushner’s Affinity Partners equity fund led the deal, with new funding from KCK, Acacia Partners and several other investors including Prosus, which maintains its stake.

The investment aims to establish EMPG as the largest classifieds player in emerging markets while growing its market-leading flagships, Bayut and Dubizzle, in the UAE.

EMPG will increase investments in its technology infrastructure, which already includes tech centres comprising over 500 engineers. 

CEO Imran Ali Khan said: “With this round of investment, EMPG begins a new chapter in its success story. 

“We are on track to double our revenue over the last 24 months, and we look forward to continuing this strong growth trajectory.

“The company’s focus will now turn towards preparing for an IPO in the near future, which has always been part of our larger vision.”

Haider Khan, head of EMPG Mena, said: “Bayut and Dubizzle have established themselves as clear leaders in the property, cars and general classifieds space since our merger in 2020. 

“With the incoming funds, we aim to significantly invest in our tech platforms to further strengthen our product offering across the board to ensure that our users and customers are provided the best-in-class classifieds experience.”

Kushner’s Affinity Partners is based in Miami, US, and backed with $2 billion from the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

Affinity received commitments of more than $3 billion by the end of 2021 to invest in US and Israeli companies that are expanding in India, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia.

Kushner recently spoke at Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, the forum in Riyadh dubbed the ‘Davos of the Desert’.

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