Dubai: Emaar Malls, the shopping malls and retail business majority-owned by property developer Emaar Properties, said on Wednesday it will acquire a 51 per cent stake in online fashion retailer Namshi, in an all-cash transaction.

The move sees Emaar add another eCommerce site to its portfolio, as it seeks to prop up its struggling Noon platform.

Germany’s Rocket Internet, a start-up incubator, sold its stake in Namshi for $151 million (Dh554 million).

Towards the end of March this year, Emaar made a bid of $800 million for Souq, the largest regional eCommerce player, only to lose out to Amazon.

Since then, the UAE’s online retail landscape has been in a state of flux, with Emaar attempting to compensate for the missed opportunity with a series of acquisitions.

On May 1, Emaar’s founder and chairman, Mohammad Alabbar, purchased Jado Pado, another online retailer, for an undisclosed amount.

Digital-driven strategy

This is in addition to the stake in Aramex, a regional logistics company, that he already owns, and a 40 per cent stake in a $145 million joint venture with Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP).

“The acquisition of a majority stake in Namshi underlines our digital-driven strategy to leverage the growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa region,” Alabbar said in a statement. “Namshi offers a perfect fit for Emaar Malls in accelerating its focus on multichannel retailing, and creating long-term value for its stakeholders,” he added.

As part of this transaction, both partners have agreed on developing jointly the company until a possible listing or full transfer of ownership, Emaar Malls stated, adding that the closing of the transaction is expected to take place within three months.