Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced details of an agreement to acquire distribution business Chabaka.
Founded by brothers Ala'a and Tarek Makki in 2013, Chabaka provides digital distribution, marketing, publishing, and label and artist services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The business works with more than 150 independent artists and regional labels across MENA territories.
According to IFPI figures, MENA recorded the world’s fastest revenue growth in 2021 at 34%, and ranked third in 2022 at 23.8%.
Ala’a Makki, co-founder and CEO, says: “These are inspiring times for the Arab region, which is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world. We are thrilled to announce our partnership with UMG at this junction of our journey. Joining forces with the largest music label in the world coincides with Chabaka’s 10th anniversary and marks an important milestone and a new phase for the company, its artists, and labels. This transaction will bring together UMG’s global presence and expertise with Chabaka’s strong relationships and deep local repertoire. Together with UMG, we will drive the transformation of the regional music industry and take it to new places, while creating new possibilities for local artists.”
Co-founder Tarek Makki added: “The region is at an inflection point, and this acquisition was the natural next step for us, our employees, and artists. A top priority for Chabaka was to select a partner that takes us to new heights while safeguarding our artists’ interests and bringing them new upstreaming opportunities at a global level, and who better to help us achieve that than the world leader in the music entertainment business and a company that deeply values innovation and entrepreneurship. Our shared vision is to continue fostering the incredible talents of this region and expanding their reach to a global audience. With UMG’s global platform, expertise, technology, and network, and Chabaka’s deep-rooted local experience, presence, and innovative strategies for artists’ management and revenue growth, we’re all set to bring an extraordinary and unique offering to the market.”
These are inspiring times for the Arab region, which is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world
Ala’a Makki, Chabaka
Following the acquisition, Chabaka will be part of UMG’s Virgin Music Group, working with the local Virgin and UMG teams in MENA.
CEO Ala’a Makki will continue to lead the company, with Tarek Makki remaining as an advisor while also continuing to lead Concast and Boomerang Studios, the other two companies within CHBK Group, which will rebrand following the acquisition.
Patrick Boulos, CEO, MENA Region, UMG, said: “The MENA region is one of the fastest growing music markets in the world, representing untapped potential and opportunity. Chabaka is a unique collection of visionary leaders, artists, and labels and gives us both scale and opportunity, especially when combined with UMG’s world leading global platform. I am particularly pleased that Ala'a Makki and his team will join us and drive the next chapter of Chabaka’s success as part of the UMG family. The team is completely tuned-in with the independent and indie music scene of the Arab region, from North Africa to the Gulf.”
We will be able to grow the global audience for Chabaka's amazing roster of artists and labels
JT Myers, Virgin Music Group
JT Myers, co-CEO of Virgin Music Group, commented: “As we continue to expand our footprint in emerging territories all over the world, Chabaka represents an important creative hub in one of the world's most promising music markets. Ala'a Makki and his team bring a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable them to create opportunities for our artists and labels in the expanding MENA region, and in turn, we will be able to grow the global audience for Chabaka's amazing roster of artists and labels."
Pictured above (L-R): Patrick Boulos (CEO, MENA Region, UMG), Adam Granite (EVP, market development, UMG), JT Myers (co-CEO, Virgin Music Group), Tarek Makki, (co-founder, Chabaka), Ala’a Makki, (co-founder and CEO Chabaka)