Another Acquisition: GrowthGate Bought 30% of Rubicon, The Pixar of Arabia.
Following Yahoo! acquisition of?Maktoob?and Noupe Acquisition by Smashing magazine, I was tipped from a VC friend of mine of another good news for the Tech industry in Jordan and the Arab world in general. As of 10 days ago, Bahrain based private Equity firm, GrowthCapital announced that it acquired 30% of? Amman, Jordan based?Rubicon.
Rubicon which was founded in 1994, has the largest 2D and 3D animation studio in the Middle East. It is executing location-based entertainment projects in two destinations of above a billion dollars development budgets.
The company is described by many as the Pixar of the Arab world. Pixar Animation Studios is known for its hit toy story “Finding Nemo” in 2003, which achieved over $800 million in sales. Pixar was acquired 2006 by Disney at a price valued around $7.4 billion.
Rubicon has achieved many high profile deals with local governments in the region and International companies, as it is currently working with MGM Studios in the US to produce an animated television series based on the Pink Panther franchise of films.
It also has created ?Ben & Izzy? a successful children TV series that aired in Ramadan 2008 on MBC (see video below). The series is based on the adventures of two youngsters; one American and one Arab who travel back through ancient times and meet a band of scientists, travelers and poets, taking viewers on a nice new journey in each episode.
Rubicon operates out of Amman, Dubai, L.A., and Manila. Rubicon forecasted revenues for 2010 are in excess of $100 million, and it plans to invest circa US$ 75 M over the next three years in various productions. Both GrowthGate and Rubicon being privately held, the value of the transaction was not disclosed, but sources say it is in the multi-million dollar deal.
The Jordanian animation studio is lead by Randa Ayoubi acting as CEO, I met her during the last WEF Jordan 09, and we agreed to meet later but I did not have time to follow up with her.
This deal marks the fifth direct equity investment by GrowthGate since its capitalization in mid 2007, and the first in the ?Edutainment & Animation? sector. GrowthGate?s portfolio companies already comprise: Able Logistics Group (logistics & transport), Gama Aviation Holding (managed-private jets and aviation services), Roots Group (construction-related materials) and Averda International (environmental & waste management services).
Here is a video for Rubicon’s Bin and Izzy: