DAMAC founder delays bid to go private pending regulator’s review

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DUBAI — The founder of DAMAC Properties has postponed efforts to take the firm private after the securities regulator of the United Arab Emirates launched a review of the transaction, the company said on Tuesday.

In a letter, Maple Invest Co, the vehicle backed by founder Hussain Sajwani, said acquisition procedures would be postponed until the Securities and Commodities Authority concluded the review.

Sajwani made a $595-million offer this month to buy out minority shareholders in DAMAC Properties, which he has run for nearly two decades.

The offer came amid years of downturn in Dubai’s property market, exacerbated by the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysts saw the plan as a blow to Dubai’s stock market, hit by a spate of delistings of major companies and an absence of new listings.

Sajwani, who resigned from both the roles of chairman and board member at the time of the offer, directly and indirectly owns 72.215% of DAMAC, regulatory filings show.

DAMAC shares closed at 1.28 dirhams on Monday, below Maple’s offer price of 1.30 dirhams and are down 1.5% year-to-date. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)