Advanced talks to merge developers entered by Dubai Holding, Emaar

Friday saw Dubai Holding, owned by the ruler of the Gulf emirate, and leading developer Emaar Properties revealing that they have entered in advanced talks to unite four local real-estate companies.

Via a joint statement, the companies informed that Emaar, which is building the world's tallest tower in Dubai, would be consolidated with three developers owned by Dubai's ruler -- Dubai Properties, Sama Dubai, and leisure developer Tatweer. All three are significant players in the real estate sector badly hit by the global financial crisis.

Since last year, property prices in the seaside emirate, with its iconic palm tree-shaped islands, have fallen drastically, with the global economic crisis and a drop in oil prices bringing the economic boom in the Gulf region to an end.

The joint statement also said: "Emaar and Dubai Holding ... with the assistance of their financial advisers, the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and Merrill Lynch International respectively, are in the process of finalizing a thorough assessment of the merits of this proposed consolidation."

The statement also confirmed that areas including the valuation of the various entities as well as the potential transaction structures would be covered by the assessment.

Commenting on the advanced talks to merge the three developers, Mohammed al-Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Holding, said: "Consolidating these three companies with Emaar is a natural progression in the evolution of the Dubai real estate landscape, providing benefits to all stakeholders."