Europe can at last claim a tech giant

After years of complaints over its failure to create big internet companies, Europe can at last claim a tech giant of its own… Yesterday, South Africa’s Naspers boosted its value by listing a holding vehicle in Amsterdam. With more than \100 billion of assets, the demerger is one of the 10 largest consumer tech companies. The new company Prosus is named after the Latin for “forwards”. But it is dominated by past achievements. Naspers was transformed by a 2001 bet on a then-unknown Chinese start-up, Tencent. That 31 per cent stake in the internet and gaming giant is worth a colossal \128 billion. It overshadows other stakes, however chunky, in online classified, payments, travel and food delivery. In March when Naspers said it would spin off international interests, its shares traded at a yawning discount of over 40 per cent to underlying net asset value… Yesterday’s listing helps solve that… Naspers’ manoeuvre has benefited investors. Others could gain too. A listed vehicle could help with acquisitions. It could start by bidding for Just Eat, the UK food delivery group undervalued by a bid from Takeaway.com of the Netherlands. Europe’s tech ambitions will benefit if Prosus’s bets lead to homegrown success. 

Lex.

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