Joint ven­ture deal lifts Naspers’ shares

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Robert Valpuesta

SCHIB­STED jumped the most since list­ing and Naspers had the big­gest climb in six years after an­nounc­ing a deal for joint ven­tures in on­line clas­si­fieds across four coun­tries, in­clud­ing Brazil and In­done­sia.

The me­dia com­pa­nies will join forces with Te­lenor and Sin­ga­pore Press Hold­ings to de­velop on­line clas­si­fieds busi­nesses also in Thai­land and Bangladesh, Oslo-based Schib­sted said on Thurs­day.

Schib­sted climbed as much as 37 per­cent to 498.8 kro­ner (R816.60), the big­gest ad­vance and the high­est price since its Oslo list­ing in 1992.

Naspers rose as much as 12 per­cent in Jo­han­nes­burg, the steep­est in­tra­day ad­vance since 2008.

“Schib­sted and Naspers will merge their clas­si­fied sites in sev­eral ge­ogra­phies with each party tak­ing con­trol in dif­fer­ent mar­kets,” An­drew Ross, an an­a­lyst at Bar­clays, said in a note on Fri­day.

“This forms a clear num­ber one player in each ge­og­ra­phy and al­le­vi­ates the pre­vi­ous ag­gres­sive com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the two play­ers in each of th­ese mar­kets.”

Schib­sted, which traces its roots back to 1839, is ex­pand­ing its on­line business as con­sumers move away from tra­di­tional print me­dia.

The group, which owns Aften­posten, Norway’s largest news­pa­per, and Swedish tabloid Afton­bladet, is seek­ing to repli­cate the suc­cess of its, and Le­bon­ web­sites in re­gions in­clud­ing Asia and South Amer­ica.

Naspers dom­i­nates the TV mar­ket in Africa and has in­ter­ests in emerg­ing mar­kets around the world, in­clud­ing stakes in Hong Kong-based Ten­cent Hold­ings and Rus­sian in­ter­net company Group. Naspers is in­vest­ing heav­ily in op­er­a­tions in­clud­ing the clas­si­fieds and e-com­merce units. “We be­lieve by join­ing forces we’ll cre­ate a more vi­brant mar­ket place, we’ll cre­ate more liq­uid­ity for our buy­ers, we’ll cre­ate a bet­ter au­di­ence for our sell­ers,” Naspers chief ex­ec­u­tive Bob van Dijk said on on Fri­day.

“We’re cov­er­ing the mar-

‘This… al­le­vi­ates the pre­vi­ous ag­gres­sive com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the play­ers in each of th­ese mar­kets’.

kets that we be­lieve are the most im­por­tant and will cre­ate a great deal of value.”

Schib­sted would have a gain of 300 mil­lion kro­ner to 400 mil­lion kro­ner from the deal, which was cash-neu­tral and was not ex­pected to have sig­nif­i­cant tax ef­fects, it said. The agree­ment re­quires the EU’s ap­proval and is ex­pected to close early next year.

The stock rose 26 per­cent to 458.9 kro­ner at 11.12am in Oslo on Fri­day, for an ad­vance of 14 per­cent this year, giv­ing the company a mar­ket value of about 49.6 bil­lion kro­ner. Naspers ad­vanced 8.78 per­cent to close at R1 555 on Fri­day.

Te­lenor climbed 1.2 per­cent to 156 kro­ner in the Nor­we­gian cap­i­tal. – Bloomberg

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