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Naspers delays Dutch listing after error informing investors

A vote on the deal can’t go ahead as planned next week.

Naspers delayed a planned listing of its international internet assets in Amsterdam until September after an error sending details to shareholders meant a vote on the deal can’t go ahead as planned next week.

The announcement just minutes before the South African technology company released full-year earnings weighed on the shares, which fell as much as 3.1% in Johannesburg, the biggest drop in a month. The new company, which Naspers has named Prosus, the Latin word for forwards, was supposed to list in mid-July.

Read: Naspers names its new global internet group Prosus

“Naspers is unfortunate that a supplier made an error on its general meeting notifications,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst John Davies, although he added that in the long term the delay will make little difference.

The shares pared their decline and traded 0.8% lower at R3 450.23 as of 4:03 pm in Johannesburg, valuing the company at R1.5 trillion ($105 billion).

Read: Naspers reports 25% rise in full-year core profits

Naspers is planning to spin off assets including a $134 billion stake in Chinese games-maker Tencent Holdings Ltd. on the Euronext exchange in part to attract new investors and unlock value from the rest of the business, which has investments in internet ventures around the world. The classifieds unit edged into full-year profit in the 12 months though March, although the e-commerce division remains unprofitable. Naspers spun off its African pay-TV division, MultiChoice Group, in February.

The listing is also intended to reduce Naspers’s dominance of Johannesburg’s stock exchange, which has forced some investors to sell the stock. South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund, the company’s largest shareholder, is considering reducing its stake, Bloomberg News reported last week.

The administrative error that caused the delay concerned the incorrect labelling of circulars sent to shareholders, Naspers said. In some cases the name on the envelope did not match the address, which “could in some cases lead to confusion,” the company said. A vote on the listing will now take place on August 23, the same day as the annual general meeting.

Naspers said core headline earnings from continuing operations were $3 billion, up 26% on the previous year. That includes the performance of Tencent. The company also has interests in online food delivery in India and Brazil, and a stake in Russian social media giant Mail.ru Group. 

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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“The listing is also intended to reduce Naspers’s dominance of Johannesburg’s stock exchange, which has forced some investors to sell the stock. South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund, the company’s largest shareholder, is considering reducing its stake, Bloomberg News reported last week.”

Can’t figure out why the dominance forces investors to sell? Why would GEPF want to have a smaller shareholding as long as Naspers performs well and no fraud of the Steinhoff kind, is present? So what if the co is the biggest by far on the exchange – it’s difficult to see the connections.

End of comments.

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