As we know them today, Naspers can be likened to the proverbial acorn planted as a seed and has grown and flourished to become a very significant tree. That tree has since developed deep roots with diverse branches and leaves that spread far and wide to provide more nourishment for the flourishing mother tree.
The multinational internet business started as just one company that was established in the early 1900s. But unlike so many others that sprung up around that same time, Naspers has grown into one of the largest business conglomerates in Africa thanks to careful planning and smart investment strategies. It today boasts of a long list of subsidiaries as well as other investments in businesses located across the globe.
The Naspers Story: Establishment and Evolution
The story of Naspers’ creation can be traced back to as early as 1914 when a few investors sat down at a meeting to decide what type of business to set up in order to promote their individual ventures and give them returns on their investment. A year later in 1915, some prominent persons in South Africa, including W.A. Hofmeyr – a lawyer and organizer for the National Party, and Jannie Marais – a notable Stellenbosch farmer, decided to set up a company they called De Nasionale Pers Beperkt (National Press Limited) whose primary focus was the publishing and printing of Magazines and Newspapers.
The company published its first newspaper, De Burger, that year and its first magazine, De Huisgenoot, the following year. De Nasionale Pers Beperkt then ventured into book publishing in 1918 and steadily began to diversify its investments – setting up subsidiaries and spreading its arms into various spheres of the South African business market. In 1985, they would go on to launch their first pay-TV system, which marked their transition from print publications to becoming a media company. They have since continued to leverage on every new opportunity until they became the behemoth of a company that it is today.
As of now, it is remarkable to know that Naspers has been able to grow from a shares equivalence of about £20,000 in 1915 (which is currently about $27,000) to recording an annual revenue of about $22 billion.
Naspers Major Companies and Their Subsidiaries
Over the years, Naspers has invested in various businesses and have grown subsidiaries that are big stand-alone businesses themselves, making the Naspers group one of the largest in Africa today:
This is perhaps the most diversified company under the Naspers brand name. Its operations and investments cover markets such as Social and Internet platforms, Payments and Fintech, Etail, Travel, Food and Delivery, and Classified. The company has its headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands and is said to have a market capitalization of close to $68 billion by very credible financial sources.
Prosus itself has more than 50 different subsidiaries and it has a robust workforce strength of more than 15,000 to make operations flow seamlessly. Some of the most notable companies under Prosus are:
This company was established in 1998 and has its Headquarters in Shenzhen, China. As of now, it is regarded as one of the most popular and largest Internet companies in the world. Naspers (via Prosus) made its first investment in the company in 2001 and currently owns about 31% – making it a majority shareholder. This company in turn owns other investments such as WeChat, Ten Pay, QQ.com, QQ Games, etc.
More so, Tencent owns other subsidiaries which include Aurora Studio, Funcom, Grinding Gear Games, Iflix, Klei Entertainment, Leyou, as well as Lightspeed & Quantum
amongst several others. It is also worth noting that the firm has a staff base of more than 85,000 workers and as of 2018, they were the first technology company from Asia to record more than $500 billion as its market value.
This is the #1 Email service company in the world and is the #1 online platform in Russia. It is said to control more than two-thirds of the Social Networking sites in the country with about 60 million users on a monthly basis. The company was brought into the Naspers Group in 2007 when they acquired 30% of the firm for $165 million. In 2019, Prosus gained official ownership of 28% shares Mail.ru.
OLX was founded in 2006 and has become one of the leading platforms for buying and selling in the world. Naspers (via Prosus) bought into the company in 2010 and is believed to have 100% ownership presently. It currently operates in more than 40 countries and has over 7,000 staff.
In what is classified as global growth markets, this company is clearly the leader in regions covering the Middle East and Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe. It has a sister company called Lazypay which is focused on meeting the financial needs and requirements of the people of India. The Naspers group has up to 98% controlling shares which automatically make them the parent company of this firm.
This company is focused on providing secured loans for millions of customers in India and are currently in the process of expanding their operations to other markets. Naspers became a parent company of this firm sometime in 2014 when they had to work via PayU to operate. About $7 million was then invested into the company as of 2017.
Based in the USA, this company is the largest independent digital remittance company in America which helps customers transfer more than $4 billion from Canada, UK, and America. The company would later go on to extend its services to various African countries and as of 2017, PayU is known to have invested heavily in this venture hereby bringing it into the Naspers Group.
This Chinese-based company offers services such as car rentals and airport transfers, booking services – flight, hotels, tours, and trains, etc. Naspers exchanged its shares in MakeMyTrip Limited for a 5.6% stake in this company.
This is a leading food ordering and delivery platform in India owned by Naspers who has close to 40% shares of the company. Naspers bought into the company sometime in 2017 and it was a move in the right direction as Swiggy still stands as the top online food delivery service in India, covering more than 300 cities in the country.
This is another food ordering and delivery service platform owned by Prosus/Naspers with a 22.7% stake which they acquired for $775 million. The initial efforts to make this acquisition commenced sometime in 2017 when Naspers invested in the company. By March 2018, the acquisition process was completed. The food delivery business currently operates in more than 50 countries across the globe with its headquarters in Berlin. They also account for a large workforce of more than 2,500 employees.
Another investment in the Indian market is Waah! Jobs, a company that is solely focused on providing an end-to-end recruitment marketplace where job seekers, employees, and even consultants, can meet.
This is the leading platform in South Africa where sellers and buyers of automobiles (both used and new), boats, motorcycles, farm machinery, etc, can all showcase their products and transact business.
This is the second-largest online classified business in the world based in Russia. It’s a place where sellers and buyers meet to transact a wide range of business. Naspers via Prosus first invested in 2013 and became the largest shareholder just 2 years later.
There are several other companies still owned partly or majorly by this Naspers subsidiary. They include Creditas, Lumo, Autovit.ro, Domofond.ru, Imovirtual, OLX Autos, Otomoto, Property24, Properties, Emag, Udemy, and SQLLearn among many others.
This is the oldest business division of the Naspers group. Serving as its printing arm, the company actually started back in 1914 when the group was formed. However, the establishment that is now known as Media24 commenced operation on 1st August 2000. As of now, Media24 is said to be probably the largest media company on the entire African continent. The print media division and online content provider have something for everyone, no matter what tour preferences might be.
Some of the sub-divisions under this Naspers arm includes:
This arm carries more than 45 different titles offered in both the Afrikaans and English languages, although there is an emphasis on the former. Titles include People’s Post, Herman’s Times, Son, Soccer Laduma, Rapport, Daily Sun, Die Burger (Pioneer publication), Beeld, and several others more.
Following its pioneer publication, Huigenoot, which is more than a century old, the company has added 22 more magazine publications to its fold. They include YOU, Drum, TRUE LOVE, TV Plus, Sarie, Your Baby, etc. Both Huigenoot and YOU magazines are read by more than 2 million readers weekly in South Africa.
Media24’s digital platforms cater to a lot of their readers online. They have about 12 titles under this stable with content on platforms such as Careers24 – which serves as a bridge between business owners/recruitment agencies in search of top qualified potential employers, News24 – the complete news channel, Health24, Channel24 – your go-to place for fresh music, movies, news and gossips, Fin24, and Business Insider – the global leader in all business-related news and information.
This platform has two main channels that were created to satisfy all you may ever require for entertainment. Honey provides the best content for food/cooking, relationships, and weddings as well as lifestyle and airs on Channel 173 in select bouquets. VIA provides the best of Afrikaans lifestyle content on a 24-hour basis.
There are 5 publishing platforms on Media24 namely NB Publishers, Van Schalk Publishers, Collegium, Jonathan Ball Publishers, and Cia Africa. These platforms all offer hundreds of titles ranging from novels, research materials for both lecturers and students, thesis, health, criminology, and several others.
Superbalist is an online shop on this platform that provides the best of fashion from more than 500 of the best brands in the world, with something for everyone, including women, men, and kids.
NewMedia provides the best of technology, human insights, editorial to its target audience in South Africa.
Naspers invested wisely in several other businesses and startups to make Takealot.com the largest e-commerce company in South Africa. The company that was founded in 2011 now has more than 2000 employees on its payroll, connecting over 1.8 million shoppers with about 2500 businesses serving them. This company was the first-ever in South Africa to successfully run a “Black Friday” deal day for its customers.
However, before Naspers became the parent company of this online platform, it was initially acquired by an American investment firm that renamed it from Take2 to Takealot.com. Then a merger with Mr Delivery in 2014 as well as Kalahari.com in 2015, further consolidated the company’s position in the country.
By 2017, Naspers gained control of about 96% shares of the company to become its parent company. This was followed by a few other innovations about 2 years later in 2019 when the delivery company established its Takealot Pickup Points where customers can easily walk in to get their packages any day of the week.
Though this company is shrouded in some sort of secrecy and controversy at the moment, Multichoice – the parent company of Africa’s largest Pay-TV company and owners of both DSTV and GoTV platforms, still remains probably the most notable company in Naspers portfolio.
This company has contributed several billion Rands in revenue to the group since it was established in the mid-1980s in South Africa. By expanding its operations beyond their home country to about 11 other African countries and most notably the Nigerian market in the 1990s, they were able to become the largest Pay-TV operator in Africa.
List of Foreign Owned Companies on Naspers Group
Who Are Naspers 5 Biggest Competitors?
The internet has created a hub for business which currently runs in billions of dollars and like Naspers, several other firms have been credited for providing optimum services in the area of Fintech, E-commerce, and online food delivery. This does not only make these firms competitors of Naspers but can be seen as suitable alternatives for this internet business giant. Below are some of the top brands competing with Naspers:
- ProSiebenSat.1 Media
- Axel Springer SE