The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has about 30 days to make a decision on its interest in Naspers. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has about 30 days to make a decision on its interest in Naspers after the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) was reported to have advised it to reduce its shareholding.

Naspers, one of the largest listed companies on the JSE, has targeted July 17 to finalise the NewCo listing on Euronext in Amsterdam.

However, the GEPF is the biggest shareholder in Naspers, with a 16 percent stake valued at $16.5 billion (about R241.6bn).

“The GEPF does review its benchmarks from time to time,” although “not all reviews lead to changes,” the fund was quoted as saying.

Naspers spokesperson Shamiela Letsoalo said Naspers would hold an extraordinary general meeting on June 28 to finalise the NewCo listing.

The JSE behemoth is expected to own no less than 73 percent of NewCo and the free float was expected to be up to 27 percent, created by Naspers through a capitalisation issue.

“As a global consumer Internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world, the new group is likely to become the largest listed consumer Internet company by asset value in Europe,” Letsoalo said.

Andre de Wet, who leads, builds and advises companies on how to grow and expand in the e-commerce, mobile and the new disruptive tech industries, described this move as a silent coup for Naspers.

De Wet said that the money used to grow and invest in all these companies came out of Naspers, out of the fruits of the labour of thousands of South Africans.

“Recently there was a big fanfare about Naspers investing R3bn in South Africa, with the request by President Cyril Ramaphosa for investment. That’s only $250million of which most will be going into the investments they already have here Takealot and OLX, which are both unprofitable,” he said.

“It might sound like a lot but, as an example, compare it to the speculative investment into LetGo of $500m second or third round to take on Craigslist in one of the most competitive markets in the world, the US. That’s nearly double the total investment into South Africa, going on a ‘maybe’.”

Naspers shares declined 1.48 percent on the JSE on Wednesday to close at R3464.16.