Livingsocial, a US-based online company has acquired the UAE’s Gonabit, in what is said to be the region’s first e-commerce acquisition.

Gonabit is a purely e-commerce-led group-buying site that offers its users discounts for local products and services. It was founded in Dubai in January 2010 and has since grown to have a presence in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Amman, Beirut and Cairo.

“This is a turning point, this acquisition shows that e-commerce has arrived in the region, the fact that such a global leader has acquired a regional player demonstrates the growing importance of the Middle East for investors,” says Sohrab Jahanbani, co-founder and chief operating officer of Gonabit.

According to Jahanbani, Gonabit has saved its users a total of $5m since its inception.

The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed.