Classified information: What Naspers is betting big on


Classified information: What Naspers is betting big on

After trimming its Tencent stake and selling its investment in Flipkart, Naspers is sitting on a hefty cash pile

Nick Hedley

Naspers’s latest deal shows the group is betting big on the online classifieds market. The cash-flush internet company said over the weekend it was investing another $1.2bn (R15.9bn) in Avito, thus taking its stake in the Russian online classifieds and property platform from 70.4% to 99.6%.
The platform is clearly still in growth mode: in the first half of financial year 2019, Avito’s revenues increased by 31% to $162m.
After trimming its stake in Tencent and selling its investment in India’s Flipkart to Walmart, Naspers is sitting on a hefty cash pile, and the classifieds segment is evidently a priority.
In September 2018, it invested R1.4bn in Webuycars, a South African vehicle-purchasing service.
The group’s other classifieds businesses include Autotrader, Dubizzle, Letgo, and OLX.
Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Naspers would consolidate its different local platforms into a single, global one.
Vestact said in a note to clients on Monday that just like Uber and Airbnb, “an online aggregator in the classifieds space needs to achieve scale for the service to work best”.
“At this stage, it is a race for the real estate,” Vestact wrote.
Thanks to its stake in Tencent, Naspers has risen to prominence in the global internet market. But it has shallower pockets than majors like Amazon, which means building strong positions early on in niche segments of the internet is probably a smart move.

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