Cape Town – Naspers, the tech and ecommerce giant that owns Media24, announced on Wednesday that it has sold its 11.18% stake in India’s largest e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart, to US retail juggernaut Walmart.
Naspers made $2.2bn (about R27.7bn) from the sale and its leaders have indicated that this will go a long way in bolstering its cash war chest as Naspers continues to venture into its investments in the e-commerce arena.
In March, Naspers raised R116bn in a sale of 2% in Chinese internet giant Tencent, reducing its investment in the company from 33.2% to 31.2%, with Naspers still remaining the largest investor in that company. The sale of Naspers’ 11.18% stake in Flipkart represents an internal rate of return at about 32%.
“The proceeds will be used to reinforce Naspers’ balance sheet and will be invested over time to accelerate the growth of Naspers’ classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally, and to pursue other exciting growth opportunities when they arise,” the company said in a statement.
Naspers group CEO Bob van Dijk said the company’s commitment to the e-commerce space was still intact as it retained its relationship with classified business OLX, electronic payment service provider PayU, food delivery company Swiggy and travel planning platform MakeMyTrip.
“India is one of the most exciting markets in the world. We are proud to back Indian entrepreneurs whom we believe have what it takes to build outstanding and long-lasting businesses, and Flipkart is a great example of this. Our decision to sell is consistent with our strategy to realise value from the businesses we help to build,” said Van Dijk.
Oliver Rippel, CEO of B2C e-commerce at Naspers, said: “We initially invested in Flipkart in August 2012, and we’re proud to have been part of the journey to build the leading e-commerce player in India. We wish the team well as they continue their journey.”
Naspers shares surged to R3 125.10 per share shortly after the news, before retreating to trade 0.98% higher at R3 104.68 by 14:45 on the JSE.
* Fin24 is part of 24.com, a subsidiary of Media24, which is owned by Naspers.