Starzplay secures $25m debt financing from Abu Dhabi-based Ruya Partners
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Starzplay secures $25m debt financing from Abu Dhabi-based Ruya Partners

Starzplay secures $25m debt financing from Abu Dhabi-based Ruya Partners

Funds to be used to expand operations and produce original content

Subscription video on demand (SVOD) service Starzplay has secured $25m debt financing from Abu Dhabi based Ruya Partners.

The funds, which Starzplay says is based on its “financial strength and performance”, will be used for expanding its geographical and customer reach, and acquiring and producing original content.

Starzplay currently reaches over 1.8 million paying subscribers and is installed on more than six million devices. It has an SVOD market share of more than 32 per cent in the region, with independent research showing 141 per cent growth in the number of unique users during the year.

Ruya Partners is an independent alternative investment firm focused on private credit investments in developing markets. The firm, headquartered at the Abu Dhabi Global Market, is a portfolio investment of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a joint venture between Mubadala Investment Company and Falcon Edge Capital.

This investment marks the first time that Starzplay has attracted debt financing from a regional investor. It adds to the $125m funding since its launch in 2015 from global industry investors Starz, a Lionsgate company, and State Street Global Advisors.

Read: Abu Dhabi and Israel to cooperate on film and TV content production

Starzplay maintains an extensive content library, especially box-sets, and studio relationships with Disney, Warner Bros, CBS, Showtime, Sony, Universal, MGM, and Fremantle. Starzplay has also teamed up with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, to create the first original Arabic content series.

Starzplay recently partnered with Discovery Inc. to launch discovery across the MENA region. Subscribers can now watch discovery+ content within a dedicated branded area across all its platforms. In another key partnership, Starzplay has joined hands with Abu Dhabi Media to stream live UFC events and give fans across the region an extensive VOD content library of previous fights, shows and interviews.

Currently, 21 telcos offer Starzplay subscription via prepaid and post-paid mobile. The company plans to expand to Sub-Saharan and Francophone Africa.

“We are delighted to partner with Ruya Partners and secure its first investment,” said Maaz Sheikh, co-founder and CEO of STARZPLAY. “This new partnership demonstrates our ability to attract diverse, top-notch institutional investors as we continue to drive growth and ensure a path to profitability. UAE’s strong tech-entrepreneurial ecosystem and this new investment will further strengthen Starzplay’s capacity to create original content, expand our geographical footprint and cement our lead status as the MENA region’s digital champion”.

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