Superbalist, Spree merger sets the stage for new e-fashion gem

Cape Town – Media24 will be the 51% owner of a new venture which will arise from a merger between Naspers-owned online fashion retailers Spree and Superbalist, the media company and Takealot announced on Monday.

The merger of the two businesses into one entity seeks to create a "larger, more focused and economically sustainable platform on which to build a substantial online retail, footware and apparel business".

This is only the latest major development for Naspers in the e-commerce space after it has made inroads in building up a cash war chest from partially selling its recent e-commerce investments, including China’s Tencent and India’s Flipkart.

The merger is set to be sealed on July 1. According to the statement, the merged entity will undergo a three-month period of integration planning and implementation. During this period, each business will continue to operate independently before final integration.

Takealot CEO Kim Reid said the merger presents an opportunity to accelerate growth in its online fashion retail business locally. Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman  said e-fashion remains central to the business’ growth portfolio to ensure a diversified and sustainable future for Media24.

Media 24 and said the merger between Spree and Superbalist is the next natural step in creating an entity with the best of both business’ strengths.

“There is currently no integration between Spree and Superbalist, both part of the Naspers group, with each business running its own sourcing and buying, technical, marketing, warehousing and logistics functions while primarily targeting a similar, if not the same customer segment and demographic in South Africa,” the statement said.

The statement said the new venture would be held 51% by Media24 through its shareholding of Spree, while Takealot Group will own 49% of the venture. While Media24 will own 51%, Takealot will be responsible for day-to-day operations, the statement said.

“In South Africa the penetration of online retail sales is currently around 1%, while in the USA, China and the UK it is in excess of 13%. Clothing and footwear sales in the UK drive a large share of the growth of online retail with similar trends in the USA, China and India.

“This suggests that there is room to build a substantial position in the online footwear and apparel market in South Africa,” the statement said.

* Fin24's parent company Media24 is part of the Naspers Group. 

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