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Naspers spin-off becomes Europe's largest consumer tech firm with $138bn valuation

Hasan Chowdhury
Prosus, the new technology-focused spin off from Naspers, saw its shares soar 32pc in early trading after it listed on Euronext, a European stock exchange.    - REUTERS

South African media conglomerate Naspers has created Europe’s largest technology firm after its internet unit reached a valuation of 125bn euros ($138bn) after a public listing in Amsterdam. 

Prosus, the new technology-focused spin off from Naspers, saw its shares soar 32pc in early trading on Wednesday after it listed on Euronext, a European stock exchange. 

The company holds a  31pc stake in Tencent, a Chinese technology giant worth $414.2bn that operates messaging service WeChat. Its $31m investment in Tencent in 2001 is now worth $130bn. 

Prosus currently operates the world’s largest classified ads business, but it is attempting to tap into the fast-growing sectors of online payments and food delivery. It doesn’t offer services itself but instead invests in businesses across the global technology sector. 

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bob van Dijk, chief executive of Naspers, said the move to list Prosus was an attempt by the company to facilitate its “next phase of growth”. 

“The listing of Prosus is an exciting step forwards for the group, giving global technology investors direct access to our unique and attractive portfolio of international consumer internet businesses,” he said. 

Naspers, based in Cape Town, will maintain a 73pc stake in Prosus in its bid to establish itself as South Africa’s largest public firm, and will also retain control of its South African businesses such as newspaper publishers owned since its founding in 1915. 

But its key focus is to attract international investors through the listing. 

The rapid growth of Tencent since 2001 has seen Naspers dominate the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which has created a significant discount on its shares as the company came to represent more than a quarter of the index.

For years, Naspers’ valuation has sat below the value of its Tencent stake, but the move to list Prosus on the public markets is aimed at shrinking that gap.  

Naspers’ stocks rose 3.2pc in Johannesburg on Wednesday.