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Home / Business / Naspers bet on Tencent in 2001. It has paid off massively

Naspers bet on Tencent in 2001. It has paid off massively



  Naspers CEO: WeChat Growth Still Huge

Naspers has a single bet to owe.

Founded over a century ago in South Africa, the media, technology and investment firm paid $ 32 million in 2001 for a major stake in a Chinese technology startup.

This start-up was Tencent ( TCEHY ) the sprawling conglomerate that owns the WeChat messaging platform and a variety of payment apps and mobile games. The value of Tencent's stake was $ 1

75 billion in March, when Naspers raised nearly $ 10 billion from 33 to 31 percent through the sale.

The investment has helped Naspers, who started out as a small publisher but is now active in over 120 countries, to compete with Amazon ( AMZN ) ] Facebook ( FB ) and Netflix ( NFLX ) .

"I love Naspers, they have an exceptional portfolio of Internet, media and e-commerce assets," said Paul Theron, an investor in Naspers and CEO of asset management company Vestact. "To catch this piece of Tencent, it's an incredible story." While Tencent is by far the company's most successful investment, Naspers has been successful with other bets.

In May, $ 1.6 billion was raised from the sale of its 11% stake in the Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart. Naspers first invested in Flipkart in 2012.

Looking Forward, Naspers ( NAPRF ) CEO Bob van Dijk said he sees the best investment potential in three online areas: food delivery services, mobile payments and Classifieds.

The company generates 90% of its sales in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and seeks these markets for future growth.

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In recent years, there have been some bumps. Naspers has undergone significant restructuring by selling underdeveloped companies and consolidating similar companies. Questions were also asked about the compensation policy of the company.

But his network of global investment and assets has made Naspers a driving force in the tech industry.

The company recently invested in Indian food supplier Swiggy, whom Van Dijk described as "the fastest growing company I've seen in the last decade". Brazilian food retailer iFood, another company in Naspers' portfolio, is the largest in South America.

Naspers' PayU subsidiary is one of the largest online payment service platforms in developing countries with a prominent position in 17 countries. Naspers also funded Letgo in the US, an app with over 75 million downloads that aims to become a top target for buying and selling unwanted items.

Van Dijk said the key to Naspers' success lies in the quality of its employees, who have been attracted by companies such as Paypal, Mastercard, eBay, Facebook and Google.

"We've attracted some of the best in the internet," he said.

Naspers also benefits from his close relationship with Tencent, which gives him a "first seat" for innovation in China.

"It really helped us to see trends in other parts of the world ahead of others," said van Dijk.

CNNMoney (London) First published on July 30, 2018: 6:32 pm ET


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