Spotify rival Anghami goes public via merger with India filmmakers’ SPAC

 Spotify rival Anghami goes public via merger with India filmmakers’ SPAC

Anghami Inc, the Arab world’s leading music streaming platform and a Spotify competitor, is set to become the first technology company from the region to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange by merging with a blank-check company.

The UAE-headquartered company is set to merge with Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by Singapore-based Vistas Media Capital.

The $100-million blank-check company was formed in August 2020 by two Indian film producers—Abhyanand Singh and Saurabh Gupta—and F. Jacob Cherian, who had previously set up two SPACs.

The transaction will value Anghami at an enterprise value of nearly $220 million. This is 2.5 times its estimated revenue for 2022, the company said in a statement.

The SPAC has already received $40 million in advance commitments. Singapore’s Vistas Media has contributed a fourth of this amount while UAE-based asset management company SHUAA Capital has committed $30 million.

Stock-market listings via SPACs have become extremely popular in the recent past with dozens of startups and even bigger unlisted companies across the world ditching the traditional IPO route.

The decision to list Anghami via a SPAC comes just over two months after SHUAA invested in the Lebanese-origin platform as part of a funding round.

Anghami was launched in November 2012 and previously raised funding in 2016. It allows users to download and stream Arabic and international music. At present, the service caters to 70 million users across the Arab world.

The latest development also comes in the wake of Anghami’s decision to move its headquarters from Lebanon to the UAE.

The music streaming platform already has offices in Dubai in the UAE, Cairo in Egypt and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. In 2019, Anghami delivered 10 billion music streams.

SHUAA Capital cited a recent research by Grand View that said the global music streaming market is likely to continue growing. The Middle East and Africa region is likely to achieve an annualized growth of over 21% from 2020 to 2027, compared with 17.8% for the global music streaming industry.

Vistas Media Capital has produced several Indian films including Bahubali-2 and Amitabh Bachchan’s AB Aani CD.

Gupta is also the managing partner at Asian Film Series-I. Singh and Gupta have also produced The extraordinary journey of the Fakir.

Cherian had launched his first SPAC—Millennium ACQ—in 2007. It initially had a plan to acquire SMC Global, but ended up with a minority stake. His second SPAC, I-AM-ACQ, acquired SMAAASH Entertainment in 2018.

Aman Malik

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