Anghami, the first and largest legal music streaming platform and distribution company operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), said it will be listed on Nasdaq
Through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), Anghami will publicly merge with Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc., a blank check company that raised $100 million in an IPO in 2020. Expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, the transaction values Anghami at approximately $220 million. The deal includes a $40m financial commitment – $30m from UAE finance firm Shuaa Capital which led a funding round for Anghami last year, and $10m from the company mother of SPAC.
“Elie and I co-founded the company in 2012 with Anghami’s vision to be the first-of-its-kind digital media entertainment technology platform in the MENA region,” said Eddy Maroun, CEO of Anghami. Launched in 2011 before iTunes was available in Lebanon, where Anghami started, the music tech company and distribution arm has created a healthy ecosystem for legal music streaming amid streaming piracy. In 2017, New York-based Bengali rapper and entrepreneur Anik Kahn’s single “Habibi” reached streaming numbers the United States had never seen on Anghami, opening his brand to new fans through his editorial and platform support in the MENA regions.
In 2018, Spotify launched into its 78th market, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with the aim of serving a new regional audience segment. With strong foundations in the MENA region and a “hometown” advantage, Anghami offers access to a library of music that Spotify and Apple Music cannot necessarily maintain, erase or identify. A company based in the region it serves is capable of programming content in an authentic way. for its audience in the same way as Savvn, India’s largest music streaming platform, which entered the conversation after a Bollywood film soundtrack for Talal, has been removed from Spotify. The album is available again on Spotify after demand for “Bollywood’s greatest soundtrack of all time” became evident via social media.
Breaking into an American market – music or otherwise will be a challenge, but if marketed strategically with niche content to boot, Anghami could create value for music connoisseurs who want more options than those currently available in North America. Anghami’s international partnerships are led by Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, CEO of XO Records, the label he co-founded with The Weeknd, which has been an asset to the company’s global growth strategy.
Anghami has increased its revenue by 80% over the past three years and is expected to grow fivefold by 2024.
“Being a publicly traded company in the United States gives us access to growth capital and a global platform that is the best in the world,” says Maroun.