Naspers bet on Tencent in 2001. It paid off massively

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Naspers CEO: WeChat growth is still tremendous

Naspers owes rather a lot to a single wager.

Based over a century in the past in South Africa, the media, tech and funding agency paid $32 million in 2001 for a significant stake in a Chinese language tech startup.

That startup was Tencent (TCEHY), the sprawling conglomerate that owns the messaging platform WeChat and a bunch of cost apps and cell video games. The worth of the stake in Tencent was $175 billion in March, when Naspers raised practically $10 billion by promoting it down from 33% to 31%.

The funding has helped Naspers, which began as a small publishing home however now operates in over 120 nations, to compete with the likes of Amazon (AMZN), Fb (FB) and Netflix (NFLX).

“I like Naspers. They’ve an distinctive portfolio of Web, media and e-commerce belongings,” mentioned Paul Theron, an investor in Naspers and CEO of the asset administration agency Vestact. “To have snapped up that piece of Tencent, it is an unbelievable story.”

Whereas Tencent is by far the corporate’s most profitable funding, Naspers has discovered success with different bets.

In Might, it netted $1.6 billion from the sale of its 11% stake in India’s e-commerce platform Flipkart. Naspers first invested in Flipkart in 2012.

Wanting ahead, Naspers (NAPRF) CEO Bob van Dijk mentioned he sees one of the best funding potential in three on-line areas: meals supply providers, cell funds and labeled adverts.

The corporate makes 90% of its income in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and it is trying to these markets for future progress.

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There have been just a few pace bumps in recent times. Naspers has undergone appreciable restructuring, promoting lagging companies and consolidating related ones. Questions have additionally been raised over the corporate’s remuneration insurance policies.

However its net of worldwide investments and belongings have made Naspers a power within the tech business.

The corporate just lately invested additional in Indian meals supply startup Swiggy, which van Dijk described as “the quickest rising firm I’ve seen in a decade.” Brazilian meals supply agency iFood, one other firm in Naspers’ portfolio, is the most important in South America.

Naspers-owned PayU is without doubt one of the largest on-line cost service platforms within the creating world, with a outstanding place in 17 nations. Naspers additionally funded Letgo in the US, an app with over 75 million downloads that goals to turn out to be a high vacation spot for purchasing and promoting undesirable stuff.

Van Dijk mentioned the important thing to Naspers’ success is within the high quality of its staffers, which have been lured from firms together with Paypal, Mastercard, eBay, Fb and Google.

“We have attracted a few of the greatest within the web area,” he mentioned.

Naspers has additionally benefited from its shut ties with Tencent, which provides it a “entrance row seat” to innovation in China.

“It is actually helped us to see developments in different elements of the world means forward of others,” mentioned van Dijk.

CNNMoney (London) First printed July 30, 2018: 6:32 AM ET

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