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South Africa’s classifieds business OLX Group, which owned by Naspers, has pumped funds worth USD 1.16 Bn into Russian classifieds and property platform Avito, further acquiring 29.1 percent stake and taking full control of the business.
With the new injection, OLX Group’s stake has risen from 70.5 percent to 99.6 percent on a fully diluted basis, with the remaining shares being held by existing management of Avito.
Claiming no less than 10.3 million unique daily visitors, Avito is easily Russia’s leading classifieds site. Currently, it has close to 47 million listings that cover categories such as goods, auto, real estate, jobs, and services.
Significant traction is obtainable in emerging and developing markets, which is good news for local players. Over the last six months, Avito generated sales worth USD 157.50 Mn, up from 30 percent on the previous year. According to confirmation from Vostok New Ventures – one of the backers for the recent deal – the site operates with a 65.4 percent ebitda margin, even as its listings grow 7.4 percent to 17.46 million.
It all started in 2015 when Naspers took a majority stake in Avito through a USD 1.2 Bn deal. But involvement in the Russian classified dates back to 2013 when the company was formed by a merger between Slando.ru and OLX.ru, two rivaling firms under Naspers’ backing.
Bob van Dijk, Naspers CEO, said Avito is the leading online classifieds player in Russia and their decision to increase the stake “reflects our belief in the long-term prospects of this great business and the Russian Internet market”.
“Avito’s talented management team, led by CEO Vladimir Pravdivy, has demonstrated the capacity to achieve remarkable growth consistently over time,” said Martin Scheepbouwer, CEO of the OLX Group, in a statement. “Business performance is excellent and we look forward to continuing this trend by further leveraging the technology, knowledge, and experience from Avito within OLX Group and vice versa.”
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