Yahoo is preparing to acquire Arab portal Maktoob for a rumored sum of approximately $75 million to $80 million
. Established in 2000, the Jordan-based business was the world's first free Arabic/English web-based email service. Today, it has grown to be the region's leading Arab online community.
Internet use in the Middle East has grown more than tenfold since Maktoob's inception, and there are more than 320 million Arabic speakers worldwide - yet, less than 1% of all online content is in Arabic. The agreement with Yahoo is expected to change that, uniting Yahoo's 20 million Arab users with Maktoob's 16 million. The search player's content will soon be Arabized, starting with mail and messenger services.
Other parts of Maktoob group, Araby.com, Cashu.com, Souq.com, Tahadi MMO games are not packaged in the deal, and will instead be a separate company called Jabbar Internet Group. Products resulting from the agreement will be co-branded Yahoo and Maktoob. The companies are looking to close the deal by quarter four.