South Africa’s Naspers to List International Assets in Europe
Naspers, a broad-based multinational internet and media group headquartered in South Africa has announced that it will list its offshore assets in Europe.
The company which has faced repeated calls from investors to find ways to unlock value, said it planned to list its non-South African internet operations in Amsterdam, including its prized stake in China’s Tencent.
Naspers revealed that it would list the assets on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, with a secondary listing on the JSE. The company noted that the entity, called NewCo, was likely to be the largest listed consumer internet group in Europe by asset value.
The company, which will retain its primary listing in Johannesburg, said it planned to retain about 75 per cent of NewCo, which will hold the group’s investments in Tencent, mail.ru, OLX, Avito, Letgo, PayU, iFood, Swiggy, Delivery Hero, Udemy, eMAG and MakeMyTrip. Naspers said the listing is expected to happen in the second half of 2019.
The Chief Executive Officer of Naspers, Bob van Dijk said “forming and listing a new, global consumer internet group on Euronext Amsterdam is a significant step for Naspers”.
Van Dijk said “as well as opening up investment to a broader category of investors, the listing aims to reduce our weighting on the JSE, which we believe will help us maximise shareholder value over time”.
Naspers accounts for nearly a quarter of the JSE’s shareholder-weighted index, meaning local investors have been forced to reduce their relative exposure to the company to avoid concentration risk. That partly explains why the group trades at a hefty discount to the value of its portfolio.
The Chief Executive Officer said “the proposed listing on Euronext Amsterdam is expected to help address this market issue and is the next significant action by management to create shareholder value”.
In early March, Naspers unbundled MultiChoice onto the JSE. The pay-TV unit helped fund Naspers’ meteoric rise since the turn of the millennium. Naspers also recently trimmed its stake in Tencent and sold its shares in India’s Flipkart.
Naspers will continue to directly hold its South African assets, including Takealot and Media24, alongside its majority stake in NewCo.
The Finance Chief of Naspers, Basil Sgourdos said the board and governance structures of NewCo would probably mirror those of Naspers.
Sgourdos said “even after the listing of NewCo on Euronext Amsterdam, Naspers will remain the largest South African company listed on the JSE by market capitalisation, and Naspers will continue to invest in South Africa.”