Naspers Russian invasion: $1.2bn Avito acquisition

by Ilya Khrennikov

(Bloomberg) — Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest company by market value, agreed to buy a majority stake in Russian Internet advertising company Avito in a $1.2 billion acquisition from other shareholders.

The media group will increase its stake to 67.9 percent from 17.4 percent, Cape Town-based Naspers said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. Stockholm-based Kinnevik is selling its 31 percent stake in Avito to Naspers for $846 million, the Swedish company said in a separate statement.

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“The Russian e-commerce market is expected to grow significantly, with more people gaining online access,” Naspers Chief Executive Officer Bob Van Dijk said. “Over time, e- commerce ratios should move in line with other large countries.”

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Naspers, the owner of newspapers and a pay-T.V. service in Africa, has expanded through acquisitions of stakes in early- stage technology companies in emerging markets. The company owns shareholdings of Tencent Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong and Russia’s Mail.Ru Group Ltd.

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Naspers shares gained 1 percent to R2,002 as of 9:37 a.m. in Johannesburg, the highest since April 13. The company is valued at R843 billion ($63 billion).

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