× Business BUSINESS MOTORING SHIPPING & LOGISTICS DR PESA FINANCIAL STANDARD Digital News Videos Health & Science Lifestyle Opinion Education Columnists Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Fact Check Podcasts E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Africa's biggest firm sees education as new growth market

By Bloomberg | March 13th 2017


Naspers Ltd plans to expand in education software as Africa’s biggest company by market value searches for a repeat of the profitable bet it made on Tencent Holdings Ltd of China.

The owner of Africa’s biggest pay-TV service is seeking to build on investments in US education-technology companies Udemy and Brainly that it made earlier this year, adding a new limb to a growth strategy that has taken the Cape Town-based company into Indian online retail and Russian social networks.

“We believe that, just as technology has transformed the way people communicate, 10 years from now education will be fundamentally transformed,” Chief Executive Bob Van Dijk said in a phone interview on Friday. “People spend a tremendous amount of money and time on education.”

New investments

Naspers has been scouring the world for a repeat of the investment that made its name: the purchase of a $32 million stake in WeChat creator Tencent in 2001, which is now worth about $78 billion. That helped transform the business from a South African newspaper publisher into global investor in technology companies, and Tencent’s contribution helped Naspers increase earnings by 31 per cent in the six months through September, the company said earlier on Friday.

The e-commerce division also showed signs of strength, with 23 businesses making a profit compared with 18 a year earlier. That helped offset a decline at the TV unit, which was hurt by weaker sub-Saharan African currencies against the dollar while subscribers switched to cheaper competitors.

The shares rose 1.1 per cent to 2,087.59 rand at the close in Johannesburg on Friday, valuing the company at 916 billion rand ($64.6 billion). Naspers will consider disposing of businesses alongside any purchases in education and other industries, Van Dijk said, citing the sale of Polish online auction site Allegro to private equity firms for $3.25 billion last month.

The company has also agreed to combine Indian travel operation Ibibo with US competitor MakeMyTrip Ltd, while Amazon.com Inc is in talks to acquire Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com FZ, in which Naspers owns a stake, according to people familiar with the matter.

“We are critical of our portfolio and we want the right assets on board,” the CEO said. “You can expect us to keep looking at our assets that may well lead to further action.”

Share this story
Why banks are keeping a tight leash on your cash
If the majority of customers showed up on the doorsteps of their banks and demanded their deposits today, chances are most of them would be turned away empty-handed.
Survey: Why 40 pc of workers want to quit their jobs
More than half of 18 to 25 year-olds in the workforce are considering quitting their job. And they are not the only ones.