twofour54 successfully exits investment in SAE Institute to CedarBridge

18 Nov 2015

Following a four year investment by twofour54, the UAE arm of the internationally accredited SAE institute has been acquired by CedarBridge, a leading investor in the education sector in the region.

SAE Institute is the world’s largest network of media training academies, which offers Diploma and Bachelor degree programmes in audio production, film production, interactive 3D animation, web development, and games programming. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, the Institute has equipped more than 800 full time students with skills to compete in an increasingly competitive market.

Driven by its objective to build a sustainable media industry, twofour54 invested in SAE Institute to ensure that training capabilities, a key part of the infrastructure needed to grow an industry and attract business investment, were available to strengthen the Arab talent pool across the region. CedarBridge will continue along the same strategy of strengthening the capabilities of the current campus and its ties to the evolving media sector in UAE. It plans to expand into other campuses around the UAE and entice more UAE nationals to enter its programs.

The acquisition of SAE Institute by CedarBridge also reinforces the important role of the private sector in developing and sustaining Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s young media industry. This is twofour54’s second exit this year, following communication technology giant Ericsson acquiring twofour54’s playout business in February. Both these successful exits indicate the viability and attractiveness of Abu Dhabi’s media industry assets to the private sector.

Commenting on the sale of SAE Institute, twofour54 CEO Noura Al Kaabi, said: “Our investment in SAE Institute was critical to underpinning Abu Dhabi’s media industry during its early stages and cemented our commitment to fuelling the local and regional industry with a strong pool of Arab media talent. twofour54’s investment in training has certainly paid dividends with the region’s audiences now served by a growing pool of talented media professionals passionate about content creation.

She continued: “twofour54 will use the proceeds of the sale to invest more aggressively in media, entertainment and digital start-up companies, which we see as key to Abu Dhabi’s future. Small and medium businesses contribute a huge component of the UAE’s non-oil GDP and account for a high percentage of private sector employment. We want to strengthen our support for entrepreneurs who have creative ideas to build businesses that will not only serve audiences but create job opportunities for young people,” she concluded.

CedarBridge’s Managing Director and co-founder, Magellan Makhlouf, added “Our decision to proceed with this investment is a result of the success that SAE has achieved in developing the media industry over the past few years. It also reflects a desire to invest more heavily in applied education in the media and digital space, which we see as a key driver of future growth for the UAE.”

twofour54 has a dedicated corporate venture fund to support the development of a thriving and diversified media sector in Abu Dhabi. In addition to providing equity funding, twofour54 works with entrepreneurs and early stage businesses to develop their business plans and provides ongoing expertise, support and mentoring to these start-ups.

CedarBridge is an investment company focused on the education sector with various investments across the region in nurseries, schools, and higher education institutes. It is a big supporter for education-for-employment initiatives, and has successfully supported many educational businesses in their growth and expansion.

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