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Hong Kong’s Animoca considers Gulf bourses

Animoca subsidiary The Sandbox has partnerships in Saudi Arabia and with Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority Alamy via Reuters
Animoca subsidiary The Sandbox has partnerships in Saudi Arabia and with Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority
  • Gaming company valued at $6bn
  • Neom invested $50m last year
  • UAE or Saudi Arabia favoured for IPO

Animoca Brands, a major Web3 and crypto gaming company valued at nearly $6 billion, is considering a public listing in 2025, with the Gulf and Hong Kong as potential venues.

The company’s investors include heavyweights such as Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and the Saudi Arabia government’s Neom project, which injected $50 million into it last year.

“We are considering a listing in the Middle East or Hong Kong,” Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, told AGBI

“It is contingent on many factors, but we feel confident, and if it happens, it’s likely in the second half of 2025.”

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia are key contenders for the listing, he said.

The company, which was delisted from the Australian Securities Exchange in 2020 for rule breaches, has been actively expanding its footprint in the crypto-friendly Gulf region.

Web3 is broadly defined as the next iteration of the internet, one that is built on blockchain technology and is communally controlled by its user. Cryptocurrency is an example of Web3 technology.

In addition to its Web3 plans with Neom, Animoca also recently formed a partnership with Saudi’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology to develop Web3 and gaming hubs in Riyadh.

Animoca subsidiary The Sandbox has partnerships in both Saudi Arabia and with Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, aimed at establishing a community of local creators to build experiences in the metaverse.

The IPO is still in the early planning stages and no adviser has been hired yet. 

The Gulf region has been actively courting crypto companies by developing progressive regulations, part of a wider strategy to attract prominent tech names, diversify their economies, and deepen their capital markets.

The UAE and Bahrain, in particular, have set up comprehensive laws for digital assets, addressing many regulatory gaps found elsewhere, even as other governments around the world have tightened regulations and sounded alarms over the industry’s risks. 

Global exchanges such as OKX, eToro, Nomura’s Laser Digital, and the world’s largest exchange, Binance, have established significant operations in the region.

Saad Chalabi, CEO of brokerage platform xCube, told AGBI this week that bourses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are “mostly real estate and banking in terms of weight” and further diversification is needed to meet demand.

“We know for sure that technology is the largest thing in demand,” he said. 

“When we begin to see more listings that are at least tech driven, those are going to see some very interesting valuations.”

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