Beyond One acquires Virgin Mobile MEA in landmark deal

Beyond ONE, a newly formed subsidiary of private global investment company Priora Management Holding Dubai, today announced the acquisition of Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA).


VMMEA is the region’s largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) with active operations under its Virgin Mobile and Friendi Mobile brands in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait. 


The deal is the first for Beyond ONE, a TMT-sector (technology, media, telecommunications) investment and operations company established in 2021 in Dubai, as well as the first foreign ownership transaction to be approved under the 2021 Royal Decree sanctioning foreign direct investment and full ownership of organisations in a number of sectors within Saudi Arabia, said a statement.   


The financial details of the deal have not been revealed.


Equity funded by Priora Management Holding Dubai, owned by Swiss businessman Remo Stoffel, and Beyond ONE Group CEO Markus Tagger, Beyond ONE intends to become a leading digital services provider radically reshaping consumers’ interaction with technology in growth markets around the world.  The investment strategy and operational management of the company is led by a team of seasoned international industry executives, it said. 


VMMEA, a pioneer MVNO in the Middle East has enjoyed considerable success since it was founded in 2006, today serving more than three million users in multiple GCC countries and operating a profitable, industry-leading digital communication platform for both its Virgin Mobile and Friendi Mobile operations. The deal sees Virgin Group invest alongside Beyond ONE, retaining a minority stake in the company and a seat on the board. 


Tagger said: “We are looking at the acquisition of companies with a strong position and significant growth potential in their respective markets – VMMEA’s operations comfortably meet these requirements. 


“Both Virgin Mobile and Friendi Mobile benefit from strong brand equity and significant trust from their customers, partners and employees, and we will do what is in our power to maintain this.  With a focus on expansion, Beyond ONE will, over time, introduce new services, experiences and technology that will simplify and benefit our customers’ lives.” 


Beyond ONE acquires the entire operation of VMMEA and is increasing its shareholding to control positions in all local country operations by buying out minority shareholders. For VMMEA, the timing of the acquisition is on track with the long-term strategy agreed by its shareholder base following its successful 15-year growth path. 


Josh Bayliss, CEO of the Virgin Group, said: “Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa.  Virgin Group is a long-standing investor in the company and is looking forward to the partnership with Beyond ONE as it heralds a new digital future for the region.  Beyond ONE’s investment is testament to the opportunity which lies ahead – for customers, employees and the countries in which Virgin Mobile operates – in bringing better mobile connectivity to consumers and businesses.”


VMMEA will be led by the seasoned Beyond ONE executive team alongside most of the existing VMMEA team in each market. Together they bring industry experience, expertise, and a common vision for a digital world with fewer barriers, increased accessibility and a simpler, hyper-customised service that impacts consumers’ lives in a transformative way, said the statement. 


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