Home » Prosus N.V., led by South African billionaire Koos Bekker, to sell Russian internet marketplace Avito for $2.4 billion

Prosus N.V., led by South African billionaire Koos Bekker, to sell Russian internet marketplace Avito for $2.4 billion

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Koos Bekker

Prosus N.V., a global Internet group led by South African billionaire Jacobus “Koos” Bekker, has agreed to sell its Russian online marketplace Avito to Moscow-based private equity firm Kismet Capital Group for $2.46 billion.

According to a statement made by the Amsterdam-based e-commerce company on Friday, the sale proceeds will be used for general corporate aims. 

The decision to sell the Russian online marketplace comes after economic sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine depleted the valuation of companies with active operations in the country, with Avito being one of them. Its valuation has recently dropped from more than $6 billion to less than $2 billion.

The transaction, which will be financed and settled by a banking consortium led by Russia’s state-owned agriculture sector lender Rosselkhozbank, represents a strategic exit for Prosus, which joins other Western companies who have chosen to leave the Russian market.

Prosus N.V., founded in 1997 under the leadership of Bekker, has grown into a global consumer Internet group and one of the world’s largest technology investors.

The group, a division of the renowned South African multinational conglomerate Naspers, which is also run by Bekker, has a diverse international portfolio that includes investments in top fintech, social media, ed-tech, and food delivery system firms.

Bekker’s 0.84-percent stake in Prosus is worth $588 million as of the time of writing.

In June, the Internet company sold its entire stake in JD.com Inc., China’s largest online retailer, for about $3.67 billion as part of a strategic move to improve capital allocation, net asset value, and close the valuation gap between Prosus, its parent company, Naspers, and its 28.8-percent stake in Tencent.

The action is in line with the group’s strategy to sell down a sizable investment in the Asia-Pacific region, including its ownership of Chinese software giant Tencent, which is currently valued at about $134 billion.

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