Naspers, Africa’s biggest company by market value, is planning to sell its Polish online auction website Allegro, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The global internet and entertainment group has hired Morgan Stanley to advise on a potential disposal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Allegro, which could fetch as much as $3 billion including debt, is likely to attract interest from private equity firms as well as technology companies, including Chinese buyers, the people said.
Cape Town-based Naspers is exploring a sale of Allegro after receiving interest from potential buyers, and may sell because the unit isn’t growing as fast as some of its other businesses, one of the people said. The process is at an early stage and there’s no guarantee a sale will go ahead, they said.
Naspers has grown into an almost R1 trillion ($67 billion) company through investing mainly in emerging-market internet companies, notably China’s Tencent Holdings and Mail.ru Group of Russia. Allegro, which is similar to US website EBay, is the number one e-commerce platform in eastern Europe with more than 14 million monthly users, according to Naspers’ website.
“It is our company policy to neither acknowledge or deny our involvement in any merger, acquisition or divestiture activity, nor to comment on market rumors,” said Naspers representative Meloy Horn by e-mail on Thursday. A representative for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
Naspers shares rose as much as 1.3%, bringing this year’s gains to 7.2%.
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