Last week, South African media company, Naspers, through its Classifieds business, OLX Group, spent $1.16 Billion to buy out Russian classifieds marketplace, Avito, one of the over 40 companies that it has invested in over the years, and that makes it perhaps the biggest media company in Africa, but now also a worldwide VC giant.
The move increases OLX Group’s stake from 70.4% to 99.6% on a fully diluted basis.
Naspers, founded in 1915, began as a print publishing business that focused on Newspapers and magazines, and quickly included book publishing to its offerings. It wasn’t until 1985 that it ventured into pay-TV by creating M-Net and fully evolved into a media company, a classification that it is quickly outgrowing with its recent interests and investments.
Since 2007 Naspers has disclosed about 44 investment stakes or acquisition, but its highlight remains a 2001 investment (following the decline of its print media business in 2000) in then ‘unknown’ Chinese startup, Tencent, that has helped transform the company into this VC giant that it is today.
An original investment of $32 Million in Tencent then, is now worth about $175 Billion, and has provided Naspers the significant capital to become this global VC company that it is morphing into. The move not only made them so much money, it also made Naspers the most valuable publicly traded business in Africa by 2017.
Other notable early startup investments include Facebook and Flipkart.
Every day, millions of people use the products and services of companies that Naspers has invested in, acquired or built, including Avito, Brainly, Codecademy, eMAG, iFood, Kreditech, letgo, Media24, Movile, MultiChoice, OLX, PayU, Remitly, Showmax, SimilarWeb, Swiggy, Takealot, Twiggle, and Udemy. Similarly, hundreds of millions of people have made the platforms of our listed associates Tencent, Mail.ru, Delivery Hero and MakeMyTrip a part of their daily lives.
Naspers – listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) – currently operates in more than 120 countries and markets worldwide, running some of the world’s leading platforms and companies in internet, video entertainment and media.
Naspers is riding on a wave of emerging tech investments and acquisitions to consolidate and expand on its reign a global technology and mass media conglomerate.