Dubai’s Property Finder Raises $90 Million Debt From Francisco Partners – BNN Bloomberg

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Residential properties in Dubai, UAE. Photographer: Natalie Naccache/Bloomberg

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(Bloomberg) — Dubai-based Property Finder raised $90 million in debt from Francisco Partners to help finance the buyout of its first institutional investor, signaling continued foreign interest in the United Arab Emirates’ thriving real estate market.

The online real estate platform bought back the stake held by BECO Capital, a regional venture capital firm that previously invested in ride-hailing app Careem — now owned by Uber — and failed logistics startup Fetchr. Property Finder said the deal allows BECO to exit “with a strong return on its investment.” It didn’t give details.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the real estate market across the entire UAE, not just Dubai,” said Michael Lahyani, chief executive officer and founder of Property Finder. The company is valued at about $1 billion, joining the relatively small but growing roster of Middle Eastern unicorns, Lahyani said.

Dubai’s real estate market has boomed in the aftermath of Covid, largely due to the government’s efforts to make it easier for the world’s wealthy to set up presence in the emirate. Its growth stood in contrast to other major markets globally.  

Property Finder’s Lahyani said the domestic market is heading toward a soft landing with prices looking to stabilize.

“A real estate market that grows at 50% is not going to be sustainable for the long run and everybody knows that,” Lahyani said. “What we’re seeing right now is a transition from a hyper growth market to a market that is going to continue to grow but in a more sustainable way,” he said. 

Started in 2007 to capitalize on Dubai’s booming real estate sector, Property Finder secured an investment from General Atlantic in 2018. It competes with other classified platforms such as Dubizzle and Bayut, whose parent company is backed by Affinity Partners, the investment firm of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. 

Property Finder has expanded its operations across the region, including Qatar, Bahrain and Egypt. Now it’s focused on increasing its market share in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

JPMorgan & Chase Co. and White & Case acted as advisers to Property Finder on the debt deal, which is Francisco Partners’ first investment of this kind in the UAE. 

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