Koos Bekker sells 70% of his Naspers N shares

Remains a top 15 shareholder.
Koos Bekker, chairman of Naspers

Naspers chairman Koos Bekker sold nearly 11.7 million Naspers N shares recently, reducing his interest in the international media giant by more than 70%.

Bekker retired as the CEO of Naspers in March last year, and took the reins as chairperson from Ton Vosloo in April this year.

During his tenure as CEO, Naspers underwent a full transformation, growing from a very South African and print focused media company with a market cap of R5.6bn, to an international media goliath valued at more than R700bn.

Bekker benefitted immensely from this growth as he was paid via a share option scheme rather than a cash remuneration package. He never took a salary, having opted for this scheme from the start of his tenure as CEO in 1997. This remuneration structure saw him become one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs the country has ever produced.

Forbes recently measured his wealth at $2.2bn, which made him the fourth richest person in South Africa.

Direct beneficial shares

The 2015 annual report shows that on 31 March 2015, Bekker held 4 688 691 indirect beneficial shares. In the 2014 annual report Bekker’s interest in Naspers N shares totalled 16 376 499 shares, of which 11 687 808 shares were held in a direct beneficial and 4 688 691 in an indirect beneficial capacity.

This means that Bekker sold the 11 687 808 shares between April last year and March this year. This transaction was not published on SENS, as Bekker was not on the board.

Naspers spokesperson Meloy Horn confirmed the sale and said the options vested over a period of five years. “After Bekker retired as CEO last year, he exercised the options and sold the shares. The net return was the difference in the selling price and the strike price of the options, after he paid the full marginal tax rate on the profits.”

Horn said Naspers complied with all regulations relating to the disclosure of the sale of shares.

Horn was not able to provide specific detail on what prices were realised on the sale of the shares and referred Moneyweb to Bekker directly.

Big payday

According to the 2014 annual report, the 11 687 808 million options were allotted at a combined strike price of just over R2bn. Bekker sold the shares in a period where the Naspers price fluctuated between R992 and R1870 a share, meaning that Bekker sold the shares for anything between R11.5bn and R21.8bn.

Horn added that Bekker still owns 4.7 million indirect beneficial shares, which are held in a trust. “This still makes him a top 15 shareholder in the group,” she said.

This is not the first time Bekker has sold Naspers shares he earned through the share option scheme. He also sold 3 354 420 shares between April 2007 and March 2008, the year he resigned from the Naspers board to take a sabbatical. This transaction was also not published on SENS, as Bekker was not on the board.

Bekker responded to emailed questions after this article was published.

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With money like that Mr Bekker, you need to seriously look at adopting some of the old age homes, hospices etc. that are currently not being funded by the government? Really obscene amounts of money that you and your family will never be able to spend.

And homes for the physical and mentally handicapped like Vita Nova in Daggafontein, Springs. My son is there and it is a huge struggle to keep the place going. A drop in the bucket for Koos Bekker.

You are both making quite a rash assumption. How do you know Mr Bekker isn’t currently contributing to a great many charities simply because he isn’t contributing to those you support? Please can we stop thinking in our own self interest all the time guys?

So how many $70bn businesses have you built in your day? Think about all of the jobs he has created for people all over the world. Envy is a horrible emotion my friend! Let’s be a bit more sophisticated with our thoughts and comments please.

You seem to misinterpret my post dear friend! I have great appreciation for the entrepreneurship of Koos Bekker. My ONLY point was that he should consider sharing his wealth with those much less fortunate than him and his family. It is the Christian thing to do is it not? Maybe not in your case/

You seem to have misread my post. I do respect the fact that he has done very well! My Point was: Consider sharing your good fortune with those less fortunate in this life. His talents were a gift from God, and if he is a Christian, it should be a natural thing to look after those less fortunate? Otherwise, have a good day my man.

Perhaps he should. More importantly perhaps he does.
I assume you have no knowledge of which charities or projects he and his family support? I know I don’t.
When was the last time you asked your Ward councilor or mayor that same question btw? The top dogs in government, even local government, take home quite a bit themselves.
Have you asked the same question of your family and friends as well?

Maybe he should. Maybe he does. Do you know which charities and programs he supports? I certainly don’t.
When was the last time you made that statement to your Ward councilor or mayor? They take home nice salaries too and they are responsible for spending your tax money.
When last did you ask that question of your friends and family for that matter?

Let’s hope you enrich other people’s lives with kind of money.

How do you know he doesn’t do this already???

Again – well done Mr Bekker!!!

He worked hard for his money – yes, he was lucky at times, but this is his money to enjoy. Always good to know how satisfying it is to get huge rewards for hard work – be it as business man, professional golfer, or inventor – this beats being born as only heir to a zillionaire any day.

702’s Bruce Whitfield was discussing this last night,
with the issue here not being Koos selling HIS shares and making a ton of money in the process, nothing wrong with that, hard work pays, and this is a man reaping the rewards of his tireless efforts.

Rather, the issues of concern here, which Ryk doesn’t do justice to, are as follows:

1. Koos resigned as CEO and took a sabbatical.

2. He then sells the 11M odd shares as an unattached ‘free agent’ which means that no SENS announcement has to be put out, which equates to no media and shareholder hype and scrutiny, and no resultant share price alteration as an unintended consequence.

3. Koos then returns to Naspers to become chairman as if nothing happened.

From a legal standpoint, all the boxes are ticked, but
Is there a moral or principle issue here ?
Naspers shareholders, and the public at large, feel duped, and questions are being asked…
Was the sabbatical thing part of an elaborate scheme ?
Should JSE rules regarding SENS announcements be reviewed ? Etc….

I support your concern

one would expect a squeaky clean businessman (as he would want to portray himself) and an ethical company to do the proper thing and report the sale.

question is: why did they not report this?

perhaps the new CEO was seen as being unable to replicate the enormous growth?

or what?

@ IIIPhil…

Phew, it’s a tough one, you see, Koos, like any other shareholder, is only human, and he is entitled to enjoy some profit-taking, and do as he pleases with the money, be it buy a yacht or a town somewhere, donate to worthy courses, invest elsewhere, or even throw some of it off a plane as he makes it rain money, we don’t care, it’s his money, he earned it, fair and square, so I doubt that it has anything to do with the new management, that he himself is still a major part of by the way.
(Also, Naspers tracks TenCent in China, so it’s share price is not an accurate reflection of the underlying business, growth etc)

The real issue here, is that he would have had a lot to answer to, had those shares been sold whilst he was still CEO.
The markets don’t take too kindly to management share sales, and such a key figure in Naspers selling +11M shares would be no exception, so he takes a break, and does the deed.

To answer your question, it wasn’t announced, because no law compelled them to announce it, but, it has a dodgy look to it.
These are smart people who should’ve known better, and realized the damage this would do to the Naspers and Koos Bekker’s personal brands.

@Barney I agree- they probably did know better and planned it this way.

It does, however, leave a large questionmark over the ethics of Bekker and the company who allowed this legal, but questionable, transaction to take place.

So how about considering that Mr Bekker does not want this sort of publicity – he now attracts a great deal of people who have their hands out wanting a slug of the action because the media has decided to get carried away with compensation once again.

The share price reflects the value of the company, not BS newsflow as to where and when directors sold shares. Given that the share price has risen from R1,300 when he sold to R1,750 today and that there has only been positive news flow from that date, Mr Bekker has actually left a lot of value on the table.

This sort of public attention can create enormous real risks for the safety of his family and friends – something that us common folk can’t easily relate to. Sometimes old money wants to remain unnoticed. There was nothing legally wrong with what he did, nor is there anything morally questionable in my mind.

I read in the letters section of the Cape Times yesterday [17th September – writer Tim Crowe of Cape Town] that Cyril Ramaphosa is worth $675 million, his brother-in-law Patrice Motsepe $1.72 billion, Bridget Radebe $1.34 billion (Motsepe’s sister and and wife of ANC Minister Jeff Radebe).

One has to wonder at this vast wealth and what, compared to Koos Bekker, have they done to earn it?

And these capitalists are loyal adherents to the tripartite alliance which includes the SACP. Like good communists they must share their wealth with the community at large. On a population of about 55 million, everyone will get 68 bucks. Or R75 if the white people are excluded as they have enough already. I can’t see it happening…

I think we can safely say that the people you mentioned obtained wealth via BEE and other schemes preferential to ‘previously disadvantaged’ south africans.

Koos Bekker, on the other hand got wealthy doing what any other privileged white man did – he worked hard and smart.

Good for him!

This is just a small percentage of the wealth he has created for every South African with money in a pension fund/RA/unit trust/etf etc…

End of comments.

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