Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 22 April, 2015 – Marka PJSC (DFM: MARKA), the first public joint stock company focused on the fast growing retail sector in the UAE, today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys Playland & Sweet Surprises LLC, a unique edutainment concept designed as a destination where children learn as they play.
With a strong operational and financial track record spanning four years, Cheeky Monkeys provides a well-established platform on which Marka can drive the next phase of expansion of the children’s brand. The news of Marka’s majority stake follows the company’s recent announcements that it will pursue a 2015 strategy focused on securing profitable retail operations with brands that show strong growth potential.
"The acquisition of a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys is in line with Marka’s strategy to invest in and develop home-grown brands," said Khaled Almheiri, Vice Chairman, Marka. "Our due diligence has shown that the company has a solid track record of revenues and operations driven by an experienced and entrepreneurial team. The Marka Board of Directors believes that this investment will diversify Marka’s operations while immediately adding to our bottom line," he added.
Shazad Ali & Saima Khan, owners of Cheeky Monkeys Playland & Sweet Surprises, said: "Cheeky Monkeys has ambitious and aggressive expansion plans that include opening new destinations, undertaking more events each year and increasing the services and facilities we provide our children and their parents. We are confident that our partnership with Marka, the UAE’s first and only market-listed retail company, will provide the direction, structure and resources necessary for this growth."
Cheeky Monkeys’ four facilities at Al Barsha, Mirdif and Jumeirah Beach Residence and J3 Mall each include such features as an Arts & Crafts Garden, a Monkey Clubhouse, a Blocks Station, an Open Gym, classrooms and party rooms. Its multi-lingual team comes with experience in Performing Arts or Early Childhood Development and are all fully trained and certified in first aid. The company offers full turnkey solutions for kids’ event management along with venue services and conducts more than 2,000 children’s events each year.
"Close on the heels of our acquisition of Retailcorp and its 15 sporting goods stores, we are diversifying operations under our sports vertical by taking a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys. We are confident that 2015 will be a watershed year in Marka’s development with distinguished, exciting and financially profitable projects being launched at a very quick pace. We have an ambitious, multi-faceted growth strategy that is aimed at generating long-term value for our shareholders," added Mr. Almheiri.
Marka has confirmed plans to open an additional eight Cheeky Monkey outlets across the GCC before 2018.
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