Naspers Has a $100 Billion Headache

JOHANNESBURG—Africa’s largest-listed firm, Naspers Ltd. , is wrestling with an uncommon drawback: It made one unbelievably good funding that has now develop into a headache.

Naspers purchased a 3rd of Tencent Holdings Ltd. in 2001, years earlier than the operator of the WeChat messaging app grew to become China’s most-valuable publicly listed firm. The stake itself is now value over $100 billion greater than the market worth of Naspers, regardless of the corporate’s different worthwhile companies in areas like on-line classifieds, funds and retail.

The distinction has offered Naspers executives with the enigma of figuring out learn how to unlock worth for shareholders with out cashing out on one of many world’s most profitable tech firms. The issue has develop into extra acute because the hole widened to new ranges prior to now 12 months, when the coronavirus-induced rally in tech shares pumped up valuations of Tencent and different tech firms.

“I don’t suppose there’s a senior particular person on the group degree that isn’t concerned in pondering by way of this drawback and dealing on it,” stated Basil Sgourdos, chief monetary officer at Naspers. Mr. Sgourdos stated executives are exploring greater than 10 concepts to cut back the valuation hole, however he declined to elaborate on what choices they’re contemplating. Points that any profitable candidate might want to overcome embrace tax, regulatory, steadiness sheet construction and debt.

“With every thought and unpacking it, you be taught one thing,” Mr. Sgourdos stated. “That’s very helpful [intellectual property] find the ultimate answer.”

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