UAE’s DIFC to set up global knowledge hub as financial data values soar

People walk outside the Gate Building at the Dubai International Financial Centre. (Reuters)
Updated 04 July 2017
0

UAE’s DIFC to set up global knowledge hub as financial data values soar

DUBAI: The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in the UAE is planning to set up a research and information hub to capitalize on the soaring value of financial data in international investment markets.
The DIFC’s aim is to “build a regional knowledge hub by aggregating financial market insight and providing the tools to assess the pulse of the global economy,” according to a memo sent to selected financial members of the center and seen by Arab News.
The first step will be a website “as a platform by research providers and institutions… that can be used by policymakers, (economists), analysts, traders, students and others,” the memo continued.
Although the plan is at an early stage, it is a prototype of a database for financial and economic information that could become very valuable.
Just last week, it emerged that GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Singapore, was in talks with the owners of Mergermarket, a financial data service specializing in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity.
Reports said that the GIC was interested in buying a 30 percent stake in Mergermarket, in a deal that would value the subscription-based website at as much as £1 billion ($1.3 billion).
That potential deal follows others in the field of financial information that have illustrated a rising trend in values in this specialist sector.
Zawya, the Middle East-focused information and financial-data website, was sold to Thomson Reuters for a reported $40 million in 2012, while the Financial Times, the London-based newspaper regarded as a global market leader in financial information, was sold by its then-owner, the UK conglomerate Pearson, to Nikkei of Japan for £844 million in 2015.
In between those deals, Mergermarket, then also owned by Pearson, was sold to private-equity investor BC Partners for £382 million in cash, after a fierce bidding round that saw interest
from some of the biggest private-equity investors in the world.
If the deal, currently under consideration, goes through it would represent a doubling of BC Partners’ investment in three years.
Founded in 2000, Mergermarket has expanded to 67 locations across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and currently boasts 190,000 subscribers.
Although DIFC’s plans are at an early stage, observers believe it is a logical step for a center often regarded as the premier financial hub in the Arabian Gulf.
“There is a lot of brainpower and information in the DIFC, and it should really be the thought-leader in financial matters in the region. The challenge, however, is to monetize all that knowledge. Subscription-based databases have to get it just right to be successful,” said one expert, who did not want to be identified.
In 2014, the DIFC announced a 10-year strategy that would see it triple in size — in terms of member firms and employees, rentable space, and value of financial assets.


Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

Updated 22 September 2018
0

Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

  • Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners
  • The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends

BOGOTA: Facebook said Friday a dating service it teased early this year is being rolled out in Colombia.
The social media giant chose the Latin American country as its test lab because Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners.
The new feature, rolled out in Colombia this week, allows users to create a separate “dating” profile not visible to their network of friends, with potential matches recommended based on preferences and common interests.
The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends, and users of Facebook Dating will also be able to block people if they wish.
A basic chat service will be available, and the site will bar strangers from sending photos, videos or links.
Some 21 million people log in to Facebook every day in Colombia, a country of 50 million people, according to the company.
“We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook,” said Facebook Dating product manager Nathan Sharp.
Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg in May announced plans for the new dating feature at the world’s leading online social network — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg was emphatic that the focus would be on helping people find partners, not flings.
“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said in presenting the new feature.
He said the dating offer was built with privacy and safety in mind.
Facebook faced intense global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
The company has admitted up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked in the scandal.