Marka, a UAE-based retail and hospitality firm, has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys Playland & Sweet Surprises, an edutainment concept designed as a destination where children learn as they play.
Marka said in a statement that it plans to open an additional eight Cheeky Monkey outlets across the GCC before 2018 following the deal.
The move by Marka follows the company’s recent announcements that it will pursue a 2015 strategy focused on securing profitable retail operations with brands that show strong growth potential.
“The acquisition of a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys is in line with Marka’s strategy to invest in and develop home-grown brands,” said Khaled Almheiri, vice chairman, Marka.
“Our due diligence has shown that the company has a solid track record of revenues and operations driven by an experienced and entrepreneurial team.
“The Marka Board of Directors believes that this investment will diversify Marka’s operations while immediately adding to our bottom line,” he added.
Shazad Ali & Saima Khan, owners of Cheeky Monkeys Playland & Sweet Surprises, said: “Cheeky Monkeys has ambitious and aggressive expansion plans that include opening new destinations, undertaking more events each year and increasing the services and facilities we provide our children and their parents.
“We are confident that our partnership with Marka, the UAE’s first and only market-listed retail company, will provide the direction, structure and resources necessary for this growth.”
Cheeky Monkeys’ four facilities at Al Barsha, Mirdif and Jumeirah Beach Residence and J3 Mall each include such features as an Arts & Crafts Garden, a Monkey Clubhouse, a Lego Station, an Open Gym, classrooms and party rooms.
The company offers full turnkey solutions for kids’ event management along with venue services and conducts more than 2,000 children’s events each year.
“Close on the heels of our acquisition of Retailcorp and its 15 sporting goods stores, we are diversifying operations under our sports vertical by taking a majority stake in Cheeky Monkeys. We are confident that 2015 will be a watershed year in Marka’s development,” added Almheiri.