(Bloomberg) — Multiply Group, the Abu Dhabi holding company with investments ranging from Getty Images to Rihanna’s lingerie firm, is taking a break from pure technology investments to focus on less volatile sectors.
“We are pausing a little bit of the enthusiasm we had on tech companies at the beginning of the year in favor of more solid income-recurring sectors, such as utilities,” Chief Executive Officer Samia Bouazza said in an interview. The firm, which has a 3.24 billion dirham ($882 million) warchest, will still look at companies in the wellness and beauty, utilities and media sectors that use technology to run their business. “We don’t go for old-fashioned brick and mortar stuff,” she said.
Over the past year, Multiply has snapped up shares in two of the biggest listings in the United Arab Emirates. It invested in Dubai utility DEWA’s landmark $6.1 billion IPO, as well as in chemicals firm Borouge, which raised $2 billion in Abu Dhabi. Although Multiply is “region agnostic” for investments, “the UAE is a good place to be,” Bouazza said. “If we find opportunities in the UAE, we will definitely go for them.” Her comments on technology deals come amid a rout in the sector, with investors turning away from what they see as overpriced assets. There are others eyeing bargains, though — Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. is defying the drop in valuations to invest in technology-focused businesses. In Dubai, a new platform founded by entrepreneur Faisal Belhoul is planning an IPO by the end of this year to invest in technology firms.
Multiply went public in December. Its parent, International Holding Co., is led by Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the United Arab Emirates’s national security adviser and brother to Abu Dhabi’s ruler. The firm reported a net profit of 462 million dirhams in the first half of the year and expects profitability to “significantly accelerate” during the rest of 2022. “We will use our strong cash base to seek out further investment opportunities locally and globally as we capitalize on softening market conditions and identify opportunistic deals,” Bouazza said in the earnings statement.