Gulf Capital Acquires a Controlling Stake in Sporter.com, the leading online retailer of sports and nutrition supplements in the GCC
Sports and nutrition supplements market in the GCC growing at 20% per annum, faster than the global average of 8.5%
Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative investment firms in the Middle East, announced today that it has acquired a controlling stake in Sporter.com, the leading online retailer of sports and nutrition supplements in the GCC, operating in a rapidly growing sector of the digital economy. Sporter.com’s operations are located in state- of-the-art facilities across multiple countries, which allows the company to provide a convenient, timely and price-effective service to customers in the Arab region.
Sporter.com’s offering comprises some of the top global nutrition brands including Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Muscletech, Cellucor, Dymatize, Quest Bars, and Russian Bear, amongst others. The company is benefiting from the general surge of online shopping in the Middle East, particularly when it comes to buying sports and nutrition supplements online. Today, the share of online sales of sports and nutrition products in the GCC stands at 7% of the total market. It is expected to grow to 20% of the total supplements’ sales in the next five years, in line with the levels in the United States.
Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital said: “The strategic investment in Sporter.com is an exciting one for Gulf Capital as it offers our investors exposure to both the rapidly growing digital economy and the booming sports nutrition sector in the GCC. The E-Commerce space in the Middle East is growing rapidlyat an estimated five-year CAGR of 21+%. Sporter.com has the lion’s share of online sales of nutrition supplements in the GCC and gives us an unparalleled exposure to the booming ecommerce and the health and supplements sectors in the region. We look forward to working with the Sporter.com management team and to helping themcement and grow their position as the leading online destination for health and nutrition supplements”.
The sports nutrition industry is expected to grow to US$52.5 billion in global sales by 2020, from US$ 30 billion in 2013. This trend is reflected in the region with annual growth expected to accelerate from its current 8.5% to an expected above-global-average of 20%. Drivers of this expansion include demographics, rapid urbanisation, high online connectivity, high disposable income, growing health awareness among consumers, and introduction of new ingredients in sports nutrition products and a growing trend for adopting a healthier lifestyle. According to a recent research published in the Gulf Medical Journal, around 40% of gym members in the UAE are also supplement users.
Abdullah Shahin, Managing Director, Private Equity at Gulf Capital, concluded: “We see significant potential in the sports nutrition market in the GCC and MENA region. The GCC market is expected to grow at over 20% per annum over the next five years outpacing the global markets. We are excited to further expand our portfolio of technology-driven businesses. We look forward to working with Sporter.com to capitalise on the market potential, to enter new markets and to establish the company as the leading player in the online retail of sports nutrition in the region”.
Ernst & Young acted as financial and tax advisor, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher acted as legal advisors to Gulf Capital on the transaction. Capital Bank Corporate Advisory (DIFC) Ltd. acted as financial advisors and Eversheds LLP acted as legal advisors to the sellers.