Struggling Yahoo to End Middle East Presence in April

Yahoo, the troubled Internet giant that famously bought Jordan’s Maktoob, said it plans to close its last remaining Middle Eastern office in April.

In a statement, Yahoo said the decision to shutter its Dubai office came as part of the company’s efforts to streamline its business and set it up for long-term growth. Yahoo added it would continue providing its Arabic and English consumer services, as well as its advertising inventory through Yahoo marketplaces and other advertising exchanges.

Yahoo is facing shareholder calls to sell its once dominant Internet business, which has been scrambling to keep up with younger competitors like Facebook and Google in a fast moving global tech sector.

Yahoo has been gradually retreating from the Middle East over recent years. It closed its Cairo office in 2013, and its Amman office the following year. Hopes ran high for the future of Jordan’s nascent tech ecosystem when Yahoo bought the homegrown Arabic search engine Maktoob in 2009 for a reported $175 million—which remains one of the region’s largest tech acquisitions.

Writing for The Black Iris blog, Samih Toukan, cofounder of Maktoob, reflected on the company’s legacy following the announced closure. “It was indeed an inspiration to many young entrepreneurs in the region and sparked a domino effect that continues today. Even at the time, it was the rare display of positive news in a sea of negative political stories,” he said.