Saudi Arabia’s MBC Group sets price range for IPO, seeks to raise $222m

Saudi media giant MBC Group (MBC) has started taking investor orders for its initial public offering (IPO) as one of the Middle East’s biggest broadcaster seeks to raise as much as $222m (SAR831m) amid strong demand for regional listings.

MBC is offering 33.3 million shares, equivalent to 10 per cent of the broadcaster’s total issued share capital.

The indicative share price of SAR23 and SAR25 per share implies a market valuation of around SAR8.3bn.

The broadcaster is taking institutional investor orders until December 6, the Saudi broadcaster said in a statement.

Upon listing, MBC’s current shareholders, Al Istedamah Holding and Waleed Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, will collectively own a 90 per cent stake in the company.

The company expects the final offer price to be announced on December 12, after the book-building process. Retail investors will be able to bid for the IPO from December 14 to 18, with an expected trading debut on the Saudi Exchange likely to be in 2024.

The broadcaster plans to use the IPO proceeds to repay debt, enhance its financial flexibility and invest in new content for Shahid and other initiatives.

Founded in London in 1991, MBC is one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in the MENA region, and its content reaches more than 150 million people each week.

The broadcasting group moved its headquarters to Dubai in the UAE in 2002, and then to Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.

The company’s main business segments include TV broadcasting, Shahid – a MENA video streaming platform, and MBC Studios – which includes drama series and movie production and several other media-related ventures.

MBC reported revenues of SAR3.49bn ($930m) in 2022, registering a 23 per cent CAGR for the period between 2020 and 2022. While Shahid’s contributions to its revenues have been increasing, the platform has yet to turn a profit.

The company said HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase and SNB Capital are financial advisers, book-runners and underwriters for the deal, while GIB Capital is a financial adviser to the major shareholders.

MBC Group joins MENA IPO frenzy

Meanwhile, as much as $8.4bn has been raised through IPOs in the Middle East this year, down 54 per cent compared to a year ago, according to Bloomberg.

However, the region’s listing activity is in contrast to a gloomier picture in other markets such as Asia and Europe.

Earlier in November, EY said MENA capital markets saw six IPOs raising $523m in proceeds, a 14 per cent decrease in the number of IPOs and a 66 per cent decrease in proceeds compared with the same period in 2022.

Despite the lower levels of proceeds from MENA IPOs year-on-year, EY said the overall sentiment remains positive from an IPO pipeline standpoint. Dubai Taxi Company received more than Dhs150bn ($41bn) in investor orders for its $315m IPO.

The GCC region’s biggest taxi operator by market share is offering 624.8 million shares, which will be listed on the Dubai Financial Market in December.

Furthermore, Abu Dhabi’s PureHealth – MENA’s biggest healthcare platform announced plans to list and crypto mining hardware retailer Phoenix Group Plc said its $371m IPO was about 33 times oversubscribed.

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