Naspers

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Naspers Limited
TypePublic
JSE: NPN
LSENPSN
IndustryE-commerce, fintech, food delivery
GenreInternet
Founded12 May 1915; 106 years ago (1915-05-12)
Headquarters,
South Africa
Area served
Global
Key people
Koos Bekker (Chair)[1]
Bob van Dijk (CEO)
Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa (CEO, South Africa)
RevenueIncrease US$22.1 billion (FY 2020)[2][3]
Increase US$3.7 billion (FY 2020)[4]
Total assetsIncrease US$36.3 billion (FY 2020)[3]
Total equityIncrease US$29.93 billion (FY 2020)[3]
SubsidiariesProsus (56.92%)
Media24
Takealot.com
Naspers Foundry
Websitenaspers.com

Naspers Limited is a South African multinational holding company headquartered in Cape Town, with interests in publishing, online retail and venture capital investing in the consumer internet sector. Naspers' principal shareholder is its Dutch listed subsidiary Prosus, which owns approximately 49% of its parent as part of a cross ownership structure.[5]

Founded in 1915 by attorney W. A. Hofmeyr, Naspers was the largest publishing company in South Africa throughout the 20th century with interests across newspapers, magazines and books. In the 1980s the company began to diversify, launching a subscription television service and investing in markets outside of South Africa for the first time.

In 2001, Naspers made an early investment in Chinese technology firm Tencent and became increasingly focused on the global consumer internet sector. In 2019, Naspers listed its global internet investment business unit Prosus (including a 31% stake in Tencent) on Euronext Amsterdam.

Naspers currently owns a 56.92% stake in Prosus[5] and wholly owns Media24 (Africa's largest publishing company), Takealot.com (South Africa's largest online retailer) and Naspers Foundry, a South African focused venture capital fund.

History[edit]

Founding and Afrikaner nationalism[edit]

In 1914, a group of prominent Cape Afrikaners decided at a meeting in Stellenbosch to form a publishing company that would support Afrikaner nationalism[6] in the Union of South Africa.[7] This meeting lead to W. A. Hofmeyr, a well-known Cape lawyer and National Party organizer; founding De Nasionale Pers Beperkt (National Press Ltd) in 1915 as a publisher of newspapers and magazines.[8][9] The firm's name was commonly shortened to Naspers (De Nasionale Pers Beperk), the contraction eventually becoming used even by the company itself.

Naspers launched with the support of Jannie Marais, a prominent Stellenbosch farmer,[6] Jan Christiaan Smuts, Louis Botha, and National Party founding president J.B.M. Hertzog. Naspers was strongly supportive of the National Party[10][11] and began publishing the Afrikaans language daily De Burger (later renamed Die Burger) in June 1915, followed by its first magazine, De Huisgenoot (later Die Huisgenoot) in 1916.[12]

Domestic expansion (1917–1986)[edit]

In 1917, Naspers bought the weekly Bloemfontein-based Afrikaan newspaper Het Volksblad (now Volksblad), the first expansion beyond the Cape Province for the company.[13]: 410  In 1925, Die Volksblad started publishing daily. In 1937, it started Die Oosterlig in the Eastern Cape.[13]: 410  Also in 1937, Nasionale Pers set up the company Voortrekkerpers in the Transvaal to support the National Party in Transvaal by publishing Die Transvaler.[13]: 411  Initially the Cape National Party tried to control the extremism of the National Party in the Transvaal by appointing Hendrik Verwoerd as the papers first editor but he would side with Transvaal branch and Nationale Pers gave up editorial control in 1939.[13]: 411  In order to combat the influence of Albert Hertzog in the Transvaal National Party, Nationale Pers introduced a more enlightened Sunday newspaper in 1965 in the province called the Die Beeld in competition to the Dagbreek.[13]: 411  By 1970, these two papers, the latter owned by Perskor, to merge into a paper called the Rapport managed by both groups.[13]: 411  In 1965, Naspers launched their first English-language magazine Fairlady. In 1974, the Afrikaans newspaper Beeld began publishing daily for the Johannesburg market.[12]

Naspers entered the South African general and educational book publishing markets in 1918, initially publishing exclusively in Afrikaans. The company expanded to English-language titles in 1919 and Xhosa in 1922. Naspers spun off its book publishing operations in 1950 into a separate business, Nasionale Boekhandel. In 1963, Naspers recommenced educational publishing operations through subsidiary Nasou.[12]

In 1973, Naspers took back control of Nasionale Boekhandel, before acquiring another publishing house Human & Rousseau in 1977. Naspers continued to develop its book publishing business during the 1980s, forming the Afrikaans-language book club Leserskring in 1979 and the English-language book club Leisure Hour.[12] In 1986, Naspers acquired publisher JL van Schaik.

In 1984, Naspers acquired Drum Publications, publisher of the Sunday newspaper City Press and weekly magazines Drum and True Love & Family, titles focused on a black readership.[12]

Diversification, IPO and international expansion (1986–2003)[edit]

In 1986, Naspers formed a partnership with other South African publishing companies and launched pay-TV service M-Net.[14] M-Net proved successful and, with sister companies MultiChoice and M-Web, steadily expanded its operations both in South Africa and internationally throughout the 1990s.

In 1994, Naspers became publicly listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa.[15] The company also obtained a Level I American Depository Receipt listing on the London Stock Exchange. In 1998, the company formally changed its name to Naspers Limited.[12]

Naspers became increasingly focused on digital businesses; launching South African web portal Media24 and online retailer Kalahari.com in 1998 and Chinese-focused web portal SportCN in 2000. In May 2001, Naspers purchased 46.5 percent of Chinese internet company Tencent, owner of WeChat, and an array of fintech apps and mobile games, from early investors including PCCW (the owner of Now TV) and IDG Capital.[16][17] The investment has been referred to as one of the most successful venture capital deals of all time.[18] making Naspers the most valuable publicly traded business in Africa by 2017.[19]

In 2003, Naspers took full ownership of subscription television business M-Net and its sister companies MultiChoice and M-Web, integrating their extensive operations across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.[20] Naspers also launched new publishing ventures in Nigeria and Hungary in 2003.[12]

Online ventures (2003–2015)[edit]

With the success of the investment in Tencent, Naspers became an investor in a number of consumer internet startups. In January 2007 Naspers purchased a 30% share of Russia's largest internet company Mail.ru Group for $165 million.[21]

Naspers had a particular focus on India, investing more than $4 billion from 2014 to 2019,[22] across multiple sectors, including into Byju and ibibo. In December 2018, Naspers invested $1 billion into Indian online food ordering and delivery service Swiggy,[23] the largest single investment made, outside of China, into a food tech company.[24]

Consolidation (2015–)[edit]

In 2015, Naspers merged its South African–focused Kalahari.com online retail business with market leader Takealot.com, acquiring a 46% stake in the merged company and creating South Africa's largest online retailer.[25] By 2018, Naspers owned 96% of Takealot.com.[25]

In December 2016, Naspers announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell telecommunications company M-Web to Internet Solutions (a subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications conglomerate Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), pending approval by the South African competition authorities.[26][27] On 9 May 2017, it was announced that the South African competition authorities approved the proposed sale of M-Web, with 31 May 2017 being the effective commencement date.[28][29]

In March 2018 Naspers sold part of its stake in Tencent, raising some $10 billion to fund other investments. At the time, its initial investment of $32 million in Tencent was valued at over $175 billion.[30]

Naspers' video entertainment business was spun off as MultiChoice Group, on 27 February 2019, represented as MCG on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.[31] Shares in Multichoice Group were unbundled to Naspers shareholders, with Naspers retaining no stake in the newly listed company.[32]

In 2019 Naspers listed its global internet investment business on Euronext Amsterdam as Prosus,[33][34] which became Europe's largest consumer Internet company on its market debut. Share values gained over 25 percent on the day of its IPO, with Prosus' market capitalisation exceeding 125 billion pounds (US$138 billion). Prosus reported profits of $4.2 billion for its fiscal year ending 31 March 2019.

Naspers Labs, designed in partnership with RLabs and its founder Marlon Parker,[35] launched in 2019 as an economic initiative for unemployed youth in South Africa.[36]

In May 2021 Naspers announced a share swap deal with its Dutch-listed subsidiary Prosus in an attempt to reduce the discount between the asset value of the companies and their market capitalisation.[37] The deal, successfully completed in August 2021, reduced Naspers' stake in Prosus to 56.92% and gave Prosus an approximately 49% share in its parent company.[5]

Controversies[edit]

Apartheid[edit]

Documents collected by the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics on the OpenSecrets.org website revealed how Naspers funded the National Party (NP) during apartheid, and that the NP also held 74,000 shares in Naspers in 1984.[citation needed]

In a letter written to F.W. de Klerk, on 17 August 1989, Naspers' then managing director Ton Vosloo reaffirmed the company's support of the National Party. Vosloo reminded de Klerk of its donation of R150,000 (approximately R1-million today), made to the NP before the 1987 elections. The company had then also pledged a further R220,000 in support of the NP ahead of South Africa's last race-based general elections, in September 1989. Vosloo ended his letter, promising funding to the NP in Transvaal, by adding that "our newspaper Beeld in the Transvaal is your ally and we trust that this formidable combination will wipe out the competition."[38]

In 1997, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission requested that Naspers make a submission about the years between 1960 and 1994 (thus, broadly, between the Sharpeville massacre, in March 1960, and the first democratic elections of April 1994), specifically, the media's role during this period. Naspers refused to comply, which led to 127 Naspers employees each making an individual submission to the TRC, apologising for their role in the apartheid years. They said Naspers newspapers had formed an integral part of the power structure which implemented and maintained apartheid through, for instance, supporting the NP in elections and referendums.[39][40]

In 2015, Media24 CEO Esmare Weideman apologised for Naspers's role in supporting apartheid.[41]

Price fixing[edit]

In May 2017 DStv (at the time a subsidiary of Naspers, now part of MultiChoice Group) admitted to price fixing and contravening the Competition Act. It agreed to pay R22 million in penalty fees as well as R8 million to the Economic Development Fund.[42]

Assets[edit]

Naspers has two principal business units; Prosus & Naspers South Africa.

Prosus[edit]

Prosus is the largest consumer internet company in Europe, and among the largest technology investors in the world, operating across a variety of platforms and geographies.[43] As part of a share swap deal announced in May 2021,[44] Prosus acquired a 49% stake in its parent company Naspers.[45] Other major holdings of Prosus include:

Prosus is also the largest shareholder of social Internet platforms:

Naspers South Africa[edit]

Naspers South Africa operates three media, e-commerce & venture captial businesses in South Africa:

Media24[edit]

Naspers wholly owns Media24, Africa's largest publisher, printer, and distributor of magazines and related products, as well its largest newspaper publisher.

Takealot.com[edit]

Naspers wholly owns Takealot.com, South Africa's largest online retailer.

Naspers Foundry[edit]

Naspers Foundry is a South Africa-focused early stage venture capital fund that invests in firms that "address big societal needs".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About | Naspers".
  2. ^ "Naspers Delivers Solid Results for the Twelve Months Ended 31 March 2020". Yahoo!. 29 June 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Naspers Financial Statements 2020". Naspers. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Naspers delivers solid results for the twelve months ended 31 March 2020". Naspers. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Omarjee, Lameez. "Naspers-Prosus share swap done and dusted". News24. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b Pretorius, Fransjohan (2014). A History of South Africa: From the Distant Past to the Present Day. Hatsfield, Pretoria: Protea Book House. ISBN 978-1-86919-908-1.
  7. ^ "Naspers Ltd. History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Naspers website: Our history". Company history. Naspers. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Apartheid Inc, the story of Naspers, Media24 and Channel Life". Media Alternatives. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  10. ^ Lizette, Rabe (17 July 2014). "From 'people's press' to global superstar". The Media Online.
  11. ^ Lizette Rabe (17 July 2014). "From 'people's press' to global superstar". The Media Online. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Apartheid Inc. – Profile of a racist corporation, June 9, 2010". History Matters. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Davies, Rob; O'Meara, Dan; Dlamini, Sipho (1984). The Struggle for South Africa. 2. London: Zed Books. ISBN 0862322561 – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ Gundan, Farai. "South African Billionaire And Media Tycoon, Koos Bekker To Step Down As CEO Of Naspers". Forbes. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  15. ^ "History of Naspers LTD. – FundingUniverse".
  16. ^ Patrick Boehler (21 February 2014). "South African media group struck gold by taking a chance on Tencent". scmp.com. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  17. ^ "A European Tech Giant Is Born, Spun Off From a South African Firm". The New York Times. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Tencent's 60,000% Runup Leads to One of the Biggest VC Payoffs Ever". Bloomberg Businessweek. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Koos Bekker to Naspers' shareholders: You're richer because of Tencent - BizNews.com". BizNews.com. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Naspers makes buy out offer".
  21. ^ "African Naspers buys 30% stake in one of Russia's biggest internet portals". C-News. 24 January 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  22. ^ Varsha Meghani (25 October 2019). "Inside Naspers' big bet on India". Forbes India. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  23. ^ Ganguly, Shreya (20 December 2018). "Foodtech Unicorn Swiggy Bags $1 Bn In Funding Round Led By Naspers". Inc42 media. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  24. ^ Russell, Jon Food delivery startup Swiggy raises $1 billion more from Naspers, Tencent and others" Dec. 20, 2018. Techcrunch
  25. ^ a b "Naspers bags all of Takealot".
  26. ^ "Internet Solutions agrees to buy MWeb Connect". ITWeb. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  27. ^ MyBroadband (2 December 2016). "MWEB to be sold to Internet Solutions". BusinessTech. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Commission approves MWeb sale to DiData". ITWeb. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  29. ^ "Competition Commission approves Internet Solutions' acquisition of MWEB". MyBroadband. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  30. ^ "South Africa's Naspers cashes in $10bn Tencent stake". 23 March 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  31. ^ Naspers revenue soars on improved e-commerce business, BusinessTech, 21 June 2019, retrieved 9 September 2019
  32. ^ "Naspers to list MultiChoice Group on the JSE".
  33. ^ de Wet, Phillip (26 August 2019), Naspers expects to pay R736 million to list Prosus in Amsterdam – here are the advisors and law firms that will benefit most, Business Insider South Africa, retrieved 9 September 2019
  34. ^ Michael J. de la Merced (11 September 2019). "A European Tech Giant Is Born, Spun Off From a South African Firm". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  35. ^ "Naspers appoints CEO for South Africa". BusinessTech. 3 July 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  36. ^ "7 things to know about the new CEO of Naspers SA". Fin24. 3 July 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  37. ^ Wexler, Alexandra. "Tencent's Biggest Shareholder Looks to Fix Valuation Snag". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  38. ^ "Declassified: Apartheid profits – the tap root of the National Party". Daily Maverick. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  39. ^ Rabe, Lizette (30 November 2017). "Chronicle of a coming of age? A media-historiographical revisit: The TRC, Naspers and Afrikaans journalism". litnet.co.za. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  40. ^ "NASPERS JOURNALISTS APOLOGISE FOR APARTHEID ROLE". www.justice.gov.za. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  41. ^ Etheridge, Jenna (25 July 2015). "Naspers apologises for its role in apartheid". news24.com. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  42. ^ Lindeque, Mia. "DStv agrees to pay R22m penalty for price-fixing". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  43. ^ Wexler, A. and Yang, J."Tencent's Biggest Investor Cashes In on Pandemic Rally" April 8, 2021. Wall Street Journal
  44. ^ Cotterill, Joseph. "Naspers launches share swap deal with Prosus to reduce impact of Tencent stake". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 16 July 2021. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  45. ^ Sterling, Toby. "Naspers, Prosus complete share swap, new cross-holding structure". MoneyWeb. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  46. ^ Singh, Manish (30 September 2020). "Prosus Ventures leads $13 million investment in Pakistan's ride-hailing giant Bykea". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  47. ^ Dummett, Ben (2 June 2021). "Stack Overflow Sold to Tech Giant Prosus for $1.8 Billion". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  48. ^ "prosus2021-annual-report2" (PDF). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  49. ^ "prosus2021-annual-report2" (PDF). Retrieved 12 November 2021.

External links[edit]