Naspers shares climb on news of primary listing in Amsterdam

By Banele Ginindza Time of article published May 30, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – Naspers shares gained 4 percent on the JSE on Wednesday as the media and internet giant, which is the JSE’s biggest listing by assets, said it hopes to move its primary listing in July to the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam.

Naspers, which is valued at R1.42 trillion, has created a new platform in the NewCo Group, which is a consumer internet business estimated to hold assets valued at more than 100 billion (R1.63trln).

Its local assets will include online ventures, Takealot and Property24, while its international assets include Naspers’ 31.2 percent stake in Chinese web giant Tencent, as well as its OLX classified businesses in India and Brazil and its US business, Letgo. It plans to list on July 17. Naspers said yesterday that it would retain a 73 percent stake in the new company, while Naspers shareholders would receive shares representing 27 percent of the new company when it listed.

Naspers will hold an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders in Cape Town on June 28. It said that the new company was expected to reduce significant structural barriers for Naspers and represented a major step by management to pursue continued growth and create value for shareholders. Naspers is trying to reduce a significant discount in the valuation of its shares due to is large holding in Tencent. NewCo’s free float is expected to be created by Naspers through a capitalisation issue of NewCo shares to Naspers shareholders, which will also leave shareholders the option to receive more shares in Naspers instead of shares in NewCo.

In an interview yesterday, Naspers chief executive Bob van Dijk said the move to list in Amsterdam would attract significant international investors. “The transaction will firstly provide the group with a platform for future growth. We expect a Euronext Amsterdam listing to attract significant international investor capital - from global funds to European funds to internet and technology funds - which is well aligned with out future ambitions,” Van Dijk said.

He said NewCo would present a new opportunity for global internet and technology investors to directly access what might be Europe’s largest listed group by asset value. Van Dijk said Naspers would continue to invest in the local market, even though Newco was expected to be Europe’s largest listing by asset value.

Naspers said it was giving NewCo a secondary listing in Johannesburg and arranging a way to make the spin out more tax-efficient.

Van Dijk said the transaction should also help to reduce Naspers’ weighting on the JSE, which had been caused by, among other things, the group’s rapid growth and performance on the index. “The resulting fore-selling of Naspers stock has been a key driver of the historical holding company discount and this market dynamic is something we are keen to address for our shareholders,” he said.

Newco’s listing follows the unbundling of MultiChoice Group in March, which unlocked $3.5bn (R51.07bn) for Naspers shareholders.

Naspers shares closed 4.07 percent higher at R3221.30 on the JSE on Thursday.


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