South Africa's Naspers ties up with rivals to boost online offering


This is part of a strategy to reinvent itself for mobile devices.

News of the deal sent shares of Naspers up as much as seven per cent in early trade. Worth more than 50 billion US dollars, the Cape Town-based Naspers is Africa’s most valuable company.

(READ MORE: Naspers focuses on fuelling organic growth)


Naspers will set up a series of joint ventures with Singapore Press and Norway’s Schibsted ASA and Telenor ASA, the four companies said in a statement late on Thursday. The ventures will focus on online classifieds in Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.

The size of the deal was not disclosed. It marks the latest move by Naspers to push further into lucrative online businesses in fast-growing markets. The strategy has transformed[DATA NPN:Naspers Limited]from an apartheid-era publisher into an Internet giant.

Chief Executive Bob van Dijk told Reuters in July the company was now focused on becoming “predominantly mobile”, to bring its stable of auction sites to tablets and smartphones.

Like Naspers, Norway’s Schibsted has gone from a traditional newspaper business into an online classifieds firm. It has operations in dozens of countries, from France to Brazil, and the online business now generates two-thirds of its profit.

In both Brazil and Bangladesh, Naspers will split the ventures with SNT, a company jointly owned by the two Norwegian firms.

(READ MORE: Naspers to reinvent itself as mobile powerhouse)

In Indonesia, Naspers will take 64 per cent of the new business, with the remainder owned by 701Search, itself a venture amongst Singapore Press and the two Norwegian companies.

In Thailand, 701Search will own 56 per cent and Naspers 44 percent.

Shares of Naspers were up 4.6 per cent at 1,497.50 rand after earlier hitting a record of 1,537.79 rand.