Changing of the guard: a South African holding company bought back a controlling stake in Avito for $ 1.2 billion

    South African holding Naspers acquired a controlling stake in Avito . Today, the holding increased its stake from 17.4% to 67.6%, buying shares from other owners for $ 1.2 billion. Avito is one of the largest online classified services in Russia. The valuation of the company after the transaction increased from $ 883 million to $ 2.7 billion.

    Naspers first invested in Avito back in 2013. Since then, Avito’s business has improved dramatically: the ad service has become a leader in such categories as general goods, automobiles, real estate, jobs, and services. Today, Avito is gaining about 35 million unique users per month. The number of monthly pageviews of the service has grown to 8.6 billion. Avito is one of the top ten Russian sites in terms of traffic. Today, more than 50% of service traffic comes from mobile devices. Last year, this figure did not exceed 32%.

    For fiscal 2014, the company's revenue reached $ 76.5 million, which is 76% more than in the previous year. EBITDA was 50.6%.

    The deal will strengthen Naspers’s position in the global online classifieds market. The management of the holding believes in the long-term prospects of Avito. There are reasons for this, since the adjacent e-commerce market in Russia is also actively developing.

    CEO and Avito co-founder Philip Engelbert said that he fully supports the strategy of partners, their attitude to business and management style. He also agrees with Naspers managers on Avito’s long-term development plans, the holding said in a press release.

    Previously, the main asset of Naspers, in Russia were 29% in Mail.ru Group. He also acquired 100% English Slando Ltd for $ 29 million in 2011. A year earlier, the South African media holding invested, according to TechCrunch, $ 20-40 million in the American OLXInc., operating in Russia, Spain, Portugal, India, Mexico and South America.

    Avito.ru was launched in 2007 and became famous for its ability to attract investment, Kommersant wrote . So, in 2010, the Scandinavian investment fund Northzone and the Swedish investment company KInnevik, one of the founders of the resource, invested $ 25 million in it, thereby valuing the entire Avito.ru at $ 66 million. In 2011, another $ 16 million investment was made in the service, and Avito.ru was already valued at $ 159 million. In 2012, Baring Vostok Private Equity Fund IV and Accel Partners invested in the resource $ 75 million . As a result, the cost of the site reached $ 300 million.

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