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
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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.


Freelance journalist killed amid new round of Libya clashes

Members of the Tripoli Protection Force, an alliance of militias from the capital city, patrol an area south of the Libyan capital on January 18, 2019, during clashes with the Seventh Brigade group from the town of Tarhuna. (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Freelance journalist killed amid new round of Libya clashes

  • Ben Khalifa, a photographer and video journalist, is survived by his wife and a 7-month-old daughter, another colleague said

BENGHAZI, Libya: A freelance journalist who contributed to The Associated Press and other news organizations was killed Saturday in the Libyan capital, a colleague said.
Mohamed Ben Khalifa, who was in his 30s, was hit by shrapnel while accompanying a militia patrolling the Qaser Bin Ghashir area south of Tripoli, said Hamza Turkia, also a freelance journalist.
The militia came under attack by another armed group, said Turkia. He said there was gunfire, and that a missile was also fired.
Ben Khalifa, a photographer and video journalist, is survived by his wife and a 7-month-old daughter, another colleague said.
A new round of fighting between rival militias erupted earlier this week, killing 13 people and wounding more than 50, according to the Libyan Health Ministry.
The clashes shattered a UN-brokered cease-fire reached in September. A bout of violence last year killed nearly 100 people.
The fighting between militias allied with Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli and an armed group from a nearby town underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
The energy-rich North African nation is governed by rival authorities in Tripoli and the country’s east, each of which is backed by an array of militias.