Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG), a UAE-based conglomerate, has acquired theAudience, one of the world's largest publishers of multi-channel social and digital content. The deal will help AAHG companies create a new direct-to-consumer media service.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, AAHG chief executive officer (CEO) Mohammed Khammas said: "Our biggest value will be that we can reach out to over a billion people globally. That's the strength of the company." He declined to provide the value of the deal.
Based in Los Angeles, theAudience is one of the world's largest social media publishing and marketing companies, reaching to over one billion people globally. Its expertise in connecting brands and consumers has led it to work with brands such as American Express, McDonald's, Unilever, Ford and Paramount, Universal, Sony and 20th Century Fox in the entertainment industry.
AAHG has stakes in live events, media production, sports and fitness, lifestyle, consumer products and many other sectors.
"Acquiring theAudience is in line with our long-term global diversification plan and will be key to the international expansion of our rapidly growing lifestyle, entertainment and digital media portfolio," Khammas said.
"theAudience will allow us to create a direct-to-consumer media company that offers innovative social content solutions to varied industries, including live events, themed entertainment, movies and TV shows, consumer products, lifestyle and fitness," he added.
"Our goal is to disrupt the way businesses currently conduct themselves. We want to fuse a digital DNA into businesses rather than superficially use digital media as a service provider. New age media is far from being a utility and is a way of life. At AAG, we will be spearheading that trend," he added.
Oliver Luckett, CEO of theAudience, will remain head of the company. Luckett co-founded the company with Sean Parker, founding Facebook president, and Ari Emanual, co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor.
theAudience is Luckett's third company that has been acquired, including Digisynd, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2008. Since its inception, theAudience has grown to syndicate more than 5,000 pieces of branded content each month to more than one billion consumers through its network of more than 6,000 celebrities and influencers.
"AAHG will help us fulfill a dream we had when we started theAudience, which was to become the nucleus of a global next-generation media company," Luckett said. "AAHG has a remarkable vision that combines live experiences, comic conventions, theme parks, retail experiences and collectibles - plus an exciting community of artists. We are proud to become part of such a forward-thinking company."
theAudience has a track record of opening up opportunities for emerging artists to fulfill their potential, while bringing them together with major brands to tap into a huge audience across the social ecosystem. theAudience's business portfolio includes services like social consulting, social publishing and influencer activation, which will be integrated across AAHG's umbrella of 30 companies across 20 countries.
By Abdul Basit
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