Prosus extends e-learning reach with a R3.5bn majority stake in online platform

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Prosus has agreed to buy a majority stake in European online employee-training platform GoodHabitz for 212 million euros (about R3.5 billion), extending the e-commerce giant’s push into education.

The deal will be used to accelerate the expansion of GoodHabitz, Netherlands-based Prosus said in a statement on Tuesday. It follows the $1.8 billion acquisition of tech-knowledge sharing site Stack Overflow in the US earlier this month.

"If this past year has shown us anything it is that technology can fundamentally change a sector and enable it to scale much quicker," said Prosus ventures chief executive officer Larry Illg. "GoodHabitz has built a successful business and we are looking forward to helping the team expand it further as part of Prosus."

GoodHabitz is eyeing at least three new countries this year, CEO Maarten Franken said on a video conference call. "We plan to accelerate our growth, and with Prosus, they can help us maybe enter other regions like Brazil, India or Russia," he said.

The opportunity in the education technology space is huge, said Illg. Global education and training expenditure is expected to reach at least $10 trillion by 2030, according to market research firm Holon IQ.

Prosus is best known as the biggest investor in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, in which it holds a 29% stake. The shareholding is worth more than the total value of Prosus or parent Naspers, which spun off the Dutch company in 2019. Both groups have looked to close the valuation gap by scaling up other online businesses, which span the globe from India to Brazil.

Prosus was an early investor in education technology and has committed more than $3 billion in the sector since 2016. The company says the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online learning, as people stuck at home look at improve their skill set. Other Prosus sites include Udemy and Skillsoft.

Fin24 is part of the Naspers-owned Media24 stable.

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