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StockBeat: Europe Gets a New Tech Giant as Naspers Spins off Prosus

Stock Markets Sep 11, 2019 06:51AM ET
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Investing.com -- Europe’s stock markets got a new Internet giant on Wednesday, and the reception it got just underlined how few alternatives regional investors have when it comes to growth stocks.

The biggest company that absolutely nobody has ever heard of is called Prosus (AS:PRX). It’s a holding company for the international Internet assets of South African investment firm Naspers (JO:NPNJn).

More than anything, it’s a vehicle for Naspers’ 31% stake in Tencent Holdings (HK:0700), the Chinese social media and gaming giant, whose value has mushroomed from $31 million back in 2001 to $130 billion today. But it also holds stakes in payments and food delivery companies, notably Delivery Hero (BE:DHER) and Takeaway.com, as well as other social media assets like Russia’s Mail.ru (LON:MAILRq) and online marketplaces such as OLX group.

Last year, it made a net profit of $4.25 billion, due largely to a $1.6 billion windfall gain on the sale of its stake in India’s Flipkart to Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Stores. Even after that disposal, the company is easily the largest consumer Internet company listed in Europe.

The company reckons its portfolio companies’ products and services are used regularly by around one-fifth of the world’s population. The listing “will give international tech investors the opportunity to directly invest in an attractive Internet portfolio,” Naspers said in a video on its website detailing the transaction.

Naspers issued shares worth around 25% in the new company to all its shareholders ahead of the listing. Euronext Amsterdam had given an indicative price of 58.70 euros a share, implying a market value of 95.3 billion euros ($105 billion).

However, Reuters reported the shares jumped to 76 euros on opening and only gave up a fraction of those gains in subsequent trading. That made it immediately the third-largest stock on the Amsterdam exchange by market value, behind Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) and Unilever (LON:ULVR).

The listing came on a day when Europe’s markets were making broad advances on fresh hopes of détente on trade between China and the U.S. Earlier in the day, China had published a list of products to be exempted from its latest tariffs on imports from the U.S., which included cancer drugs and lubricant base oil but not the far more sensitive and economically important agricultural products such as soybeans and pork.

By 5 AM ET (0900) the benchmark Stoxx 600 benchmark was up 0.7% at 389.08, a six-week high. Germany’s DAX and U.K. FTSE 100 were both up 1.0%

StockBeat: Europe Gets a New Tech Giant as Naspers Spins off Prosus
 

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