Updated: A Multi Million Deal: Google to Acquire a Jordanian Startup?

31 Mar, 2009



Coinciding with Google’s executive trip to Jordan and across the region, I’ve been hearing rumors that Google is in acquisition talks with a Jordanian internet startup, the deal is rumored to be in millions of dollars. I have the name of the startup but I won’t mention it, if these rumors were true it will mark the 1st Google acquisition in the Arab world. However I’ll be looking for confirmation from Google.

Google has been lately active in the Arab world; they have now marketing and sales teams, in UAE, KSA, Egypt and Ireland to support the push for Google’s product in the Arab world. They have also Arabaized many of their products, recently they launched Doodle competition and launched an offical blog for the Arab world

In the financial side Google offered Google Award for the Best Online Business Plan in Jordan part of Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition (QRNEC) and today they have announced Google Ventures its long awaited venture capital (VC) arm, offering seed funding to tens of millions of dollars depending on the stage of the company. According to Google blog post, the fund will be focusing on early stage investments across a diverse range of industries, including consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and “other areas google have not thought of yet.”

If you have any information about this rumor please tip me here.

Update: Joanne Kubba Google, Middle East and North Africa, Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager responded to me saying: “I can confirm that this is in fact pure rumor.”  however my source/s said that Google is in acquisition talks with the Jordanian startup, I’ll spend more time investigating this story, as I said at the begging of this post “I’ve been hearing rumors” I did not say that this deal/talks  is 100% confirmed as I did not have enough sources to verify the story. The source party is a respected person/s and I won’t reveal the name unless a green light is given from him/them.

Update 2: Please Read ArabCrunch Tipping Policy here.)

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  1. monica  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:28 PM #

    you surely teased my curiosity…

  2. w0nkel  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:43 PM #

    i dont think that the arabic market is so significant, else they would have done it earlier. google is a bit late on tapping into the market.

    i guess with the other markets doing so bad, they might look in the middle east.

  3. Gaith Saqer  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:50 PM #

    @w0nkel the Arabic market is so significant bc online advertising is less than 1% of total ad spending, online advertising is more efficient and effective and cost less. and all experts agree it will grow here. Google is well positioned with its Adwords that can cater for mom and pop shops to advertise along with enterprise.
    Google has entered the market long before the current global recession.
    There are huge opportunities in the Arab world.

  4. Sardar Mohkim Khan  |  March 31st, 2009 at 9:32 PM #

    I think this one has a bit of weight. Google with its plans of getting roots deep in the international market will definitely take such an initiative. Let’s wait and see and hope it turns out true, if it does happen, we are seeing wide opportunities to boost the Web scene here in the Middle East.

  5. Google to acquire a Startup from Jordan? | Startup Meme - Technology Startup and Latest Tech News  |  March 31st, 2009 at 9:52 PM #

    […] come out rumors of a possible Google acquisition of an Arab startup. The rumor comes hurtling from Arab Crunch which hasn’t mentioned the name of this lucky Jordanian startup, but says that the deal can […]

  6. Khaled  |  March 31st, 2009 at 9:59 PM #

    If the startup is so famous, why don’t we hear about it?

  7. Gaith Saqer  |  March 31st, 2009 at 10:20 PM #

    it is in stealth mood!

  8. za3tar  |  March 31st, 2009 at 10:59 PM #

    I will be very surprised (and very glad) if that happened.

    What is making me doubtful is that the current economic climate is not that encouraging for acquisitions yet. However, it would be great for the morale in the Arab market if that happened.

    However, which company could it be ? Most of the Jordanian startups that i know about are doing things that already has, and the most prominent example i can think of is ikbis but i am not sure it brings much to the table.

    Still interesting to see how this develops or if it is true.

  9. Qwaider قويدر  |  April 1st, 2009 at 2:49 AM #

    The sad fact that we don’t hear about the great work of many of the startups doesn’t negate the other fact that some are very successful in their markets.
    I can think of a few really good software houses in Jordan. Most produce for external specialized markets.

    I sincerely hope this would be a good stimulus for the computer companies in Jordan to help them excel since big players around the globe are keeping an eye. So it’s time to shine in our own little local

  10. Ammar Mardawi  |  April 1st, 2009 at 8:05 AM #

    If it is in stealth mode then we can assume it is none of the “me too but in Arabic” social networking companies. My guess it is a start up that developed a technology Google sees important. My wild guess: searching and indexing Arabic text.

    I totally believe that we will be hearing the acquisition news very soon.

    @za3tar, the market is still as good for acquisitions as it was last year. The valuations were just cut in half. Adobe announced it will be more aggressive in acquiring startups this year.

  11. Moski  |  April 1st, 2009 at 11:52 AM #

    “A Multi Million Deal: Google to Acquire a Jordanian Startup?” , come on , are u kidding me. Why would google buy any arabic website. We don’t have a single website with its unique original idea … google is just teasing the market to see whats out there, we don’t have the talent nor experience to even be considered by google.

  12. Mariam Ayyash  |  April 1st, 2009 at 12:42 PM #

    in UAE, KSA, Egypt and Ireland… when did Ireland join the arab associate? b3elmee baljika did, not ireland 🙂

  13. SEO Dubai  |  April 1st, 2009 at 12:43 PM #

    a part of April fool’s day right??

  14. Gaith Saqer  |  April 1st, 2009 at 12:48 PM #

    @seo Dubai: nope

  15. Gaith Saqer  |  April 1st, 2009 at 12:50 PM #

    @Mariam Ayyash: lol, it is just Google has some of the team in Ireland, the adwords team. however Iralnd is welcomed to join the Arab world 😛

  16. mobily3araby  |  April 1st, 2009 at 3:17 PM #

    When google aquires a startup, they do that for two reasons as they stated:

    1. the product is extremely awesome: examples of this Urchin, Writely and Feedburner. And i just can’t think of any in Jordan.

    2. the company has extremely talented engineers. And again i can’t think of any company in Jordan with this characteristic.

    so come on guys!

  17. Arabiancontent.com  |  April 1st, 2009 at 9:28 PM #

    A Multi Million Deal: Google to Acquire a Jordanian Startup? | ArabCrunch…

    Coinciding with Google’s executive trip to Jordan and across the region, I’ve been hearing rumors that Google is in acquisition talks with a Jordanian internet startup, the deal is rumored to be in millions of dollars. I have the name of the startup bu…

  18. Ala' Yasin Abuhijleh  |  April 1st, 2009 at 9:55 PM #

    I believe we should not underestimate Jordanian talents. Personally I would be very proud if that happened and I believe it’s not impossible. wish them all the luck

  19. Tim Abbott  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 9:04 AM #


    Tim at teksymmetry here, Great Stuff

    @Allthehaters – Guys, I’m an American and have been living in KSA for 2 years and even attended the Demo Conference here last month in Riyadh. I have worked as a Director on the founding team at Kozoru (failed – search it – but amazingly talented team), VML (top five Interactive Agency in the states), NetIQ, on the HP Openview team, etc. There are two things different here than in the states that makes this market mega significant:

    1. The region has fastest growing internet penetration in the world with 5 dollars in online ad spending. I have ridiculously seen people advertising the strangest things in the newspaper. I mean guys, really, look at this site:


    They get an A for effort and for stealing significant money from advertisers.

    2. There is significant cash (and advertising) in the region

    3. There is nothing (NEARLY NOTHING) on the web at the moment in Arabic. The biggest sites are forums. When I say nothing I mean the Arabic content is TERRIBLE and I’m talking Web 1.0 stuff here guys. I will keep saying to every Arab Web Shop, “STOP MAKING GAMES AND SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES.” Yes they are fun, hip, and all the baklava, but we were able to graduate to the fun stuff in the States, because people were very used to using the internet, we already had all the boring stuff on the net, so someone had to come up with new ideas and ways to leverage that content. Here, there’s no content, so filling that void is the order of the day and yes, the boring “me too” stuff understanding the regional challenges.

    There are significant challenges here, restrictions, and the like, but there’s a lot to be won for the talented (I’m not talking about Nobel prize winners) and smart teams. Heck, we still do a bit of outsourcing work for American Interactive Agencies, but we our putting our feet in the sand on this side of the water.

  20. Najeeb  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 9:14 PM #

    I Have it in Good Authority
    That this news is totally false
    Google are not considering buying any company in Jordan
    Their visit here was in their way from Rammalla to the Gulf .

    and the Company Gaith [editor of the Blog] is having in mind is totally wrong and misleading 🙂

  21. ArabCrunch News Tipping Policy | ArabCrunch  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 10:50 PM #

    […] &Tips, ArabCrunch News, Blogging, google | Permalink When I published the last news about Google’s suspected acquisition talks  with a Jordanian startup, I was pressured by many to reveal the name of the company or the source/s […]

  22. Gaith Saqer  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 11:00 PM #

    @ Najeeb Jararr: Look at the update of this post, and as I said at the begging of this post I’ve been hearing rumors I did not say anything is 100% confirmed. However my source/s is a respected party and more investigation is taking place. So you should refine from using words such as “misleading” and stay away from personal attacks! You take things too personal! Also you better read this post: http://arabcrunch.com/2009/04/arabcrunch-news-tipping-policy.html

  23. Moski  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 11:22 PM #

    Its sad to see a blog like arabcruch spreading rumors about something not even close to reality …. Lets try to be more professional and produce a better arabic news and content …

  24. Gaith Saqer  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 11:50 PM #

    @Moski: Again as I said from the begging in this post I’ve been hearing rumors however they are based on tip/s from source/s, I did not say it is 100%, and the post title ends with a question mark (?) Again my source is credible person/s and I am still investigating the story. Many times Rumors turn to be true and mainstream blogs and media do report them SO Please Do not Be Sad, for examples look here:


  25. mamod  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 1:33 AM #

    @Tim Abbott: thank you so much man I really liked your “article”, I ask Gaith to have your comment on a separate post as it’s very valuable, really, but please that link you posted it’s eyes trap, my god how many ads in one page and all bad 🙂

    @mobily3araby: die in your jealousy 😛 you know better man, but really we all Arabs and should be proud of each other after all your mobile speaks 3araby

    @Moski and @Najeeb you both share same thoughts and believe me if Gaith didn’t say “Rumor” in his post you could never know it’s a “Rumor” but your eyes tagged that word and responded immediately, I wish Gaith said “Bla Bla Bla” instead, every body then will accept the Rumor as a trusted news, and I’m not sure if it’s only me but this “Rumor” positively affected me and glad Gaith posted it even if it’s a “Rumor” and false.

  26. Tim Abbott  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 10:39 AM #

    Tim from tekSymmetry here again:

    @everyone dissing Gaith:

    Come on guys, give it a break. I don’t even know Gaith, but what is the deal with saying the same things over and over again. It sounds like a personal attack which is sad. Please let’s get over ourselves and move on.

    Also, apparently some of you know nothing about the internet and why Google would buy a copy cat. Have you guys heard of Youtube? Was it the first video sharing site or was it the most popular? Google considered buying Yahoo, did you read that or miss that? Like I said earlier, get a real site, with some real content, make it bilingual and with a great revenue model and you’ll say screw Google, why do we need them (nothing personal Sergey). Smart entrepreneurs don’t do things to get bought by Google, and Google isn’t the benevolent company here to save the day for you guys. Eventually, Google may become Microsoft like and another young, hip, smart, and creative company will be the new Google. There is plenty of opportunity to get rich on the web without an acquisition, ESPECIALLY IN THIS REGION. If you guys want to have a discussion, roundtable, argument, or anything similar about that, I’m all ears…

  27. De olho na Jordânia | ResultsON  |  June 9th, 2009 at 7:31 PM #

    […] alguns rumores que circulam na web, até o Google já estaria sondando uma empresa jordaniana para uma aquisição […]

  28. Empreendedorismo e Inovação no Oriente Médio « l’esprit d’entreprise – Empreenda!  |  June 10th, 2009 at 4:06 PM #

    […] alguns rumores que circulam na web, até o Google já estaria sondando uma empresa jordaniana para uma aquisição […]

  29. Lisbeth  |  April 2nd, 2010 at 12:15 AM #

    Hola , Happy Fool’s Day!

    Three old men are sitting on the porch of a retirement home. The first says, “Fellas, I got real problems. I’m seventy years old. Every morning at seven o’clock I get up and I try to urinate. All day long I try to urinate. They give me all kinds of medicine but nothing helps.”
    The second old man says, “You think you have problems. I’m eighty years old. Every morning at 8:00 I get up and try to move my bowels. I try all day long. They give me all kinds of stuff but nothing helps.”
    Finally the third old man speaks up, “Fellas, I’m ninety years old. Every morning at 7:00 sharp I urinate. Every morning at 8:00 I move my bowels. Every morning at 9:00 sharp I wake up.”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  30. تحميل اغاني  |  July 19th, 2011 at 2:20 PM #

    i don’t think it’s worth it for google to buy it

    anyway thanks

    and happy april fool’s day hahaha

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