Discovery Communications to acquire Takhayal Entertainment and its MENA TV network

Louise Duffy | 29-11-2012

Discovery Communications has announced an agreement to acquire Dubai-based media company Takhayal Entertainment and its affiliated companies in Dubai and Egypt, including its flagship TV network, Fatafeat, the number 1 food network in the Middle East.
The parties are in the final stages of formalising the transfer with the authorities. The announcement was made by Takhayal CEO Youssef El-Deeb and Mark Hollinger, CEO of Discovery Networks International.
The transaction is a targeted step by Discovery to extend its reach in the growing Middle East and North Africa television market, and to further complement and strengthen its existing portfolio of female-targeted lifestyle pay TV brands, including TLC and Real Time. The acquisition will also provide access to a vast library of cooking recipes and shows and the company’s production facility.
Hollinger said: “The acquisition of Takhayal, the premier company for cuisine and culinary programming in the Middle East, significantly strengthens our portfolio in this important region and adds content in a genre that has proven popular with our viewers around the globe...
"Takhayal’s executives, such as Youssef El-Deeb, are exceptionally smart and creative and we look forward to working with them to leverage Takhayal’s strong position in the Arab-speaking world and take Discovery’s female-targeted lifestyle content even deeper into the marketplace.”
El-Deeb added: “We have had great success with our TV brand Fatafeat, which has become one of the leading TV channels in the Middle East since it launched five years ago, and our slogan ‘Al Hayat Helwa’ (Life is Wonderful) which has been the driving force across our business and we are excited by how the rich expertise of Discovery will enable us to take the business to the next level. We are very honoured to become part of Discovery Communications.
“The core expertise of our team is its great creativity and dedication, and this combination has enabled us to achieve very clear brand positioning and stand out amongst the hundreds of Arab TV channels as the leading the lifestyle brand across the Middle East.”
Fatafeat broadcasts to approximately 55 million TV households in the Middle East and North Africa and the in-house studio contains a library of 700 hours of programmes, which is added to by 150-200 new hours each year. Shows include Teslam El Ayadi (family cooking show), Matbakhna El Arabi (Our Arabian Cuisine hosted by award-winning chef, Mohammad Orfali), Shourba Wi Naknaka (Soups and Snacks), Houriyat Al Matbakh (Arabic and international cooking) and Wala Bil Ahlam (‘Dream Desserts’ from Egyptian award-winning chef Nermine Hanno).