Naspers buys out Romania’s biggest online retailer

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Looks like Naspers didn’t waste much time on making good on its promised Eastern European expansion plans. The emerging markets media and internet giant has acquired a 70% stake in Romania’s largest online retailer.

According to Romania-Insider, the value of the deal has not been made public, but some estimates have it at around the EUR100-million (US$123-million) mark.

eMag general manager Iulian Stanciu will retain his position and a 21.6& stake in the company while fellow individual shareholder Radu Apostolescu will keep hold of 8.4%.

The acquisition was reportedly triggered by the potential Naspers saw in eMag to expand into the rest of Eastern Europe. The online retailer isn’t Naspers’ first foray into Romania though. The company already own the likes of PayU Romania and online platforms autovit.ro, mercador.ro and compari.ro. It also has a stake in Fashion Days.

Naspers already has a strong presence in Eastern Europe, where it owns classifieds site Slando. In October 2007, the $18-billion media giant bought out Gadu-Gadu, a listed Polish instant messaging business with an estimated 8-million registered accounts (of a population of 38-million).

Shortly after this, Naspers acquired Tradus (formerly QXL and listed on the London Stock Exchange), which provides an online auction platform and internet portals in Eastern Europe. The company owns Allegro.pl, which is the leading online auction site in Poland.

It also owns and 80% stake Turkey’s Vipindirim Electronic Services Plc.

The South African-based company has never been shy when it comes to making offshore investments and has properties in Sub-Saharan Africa, Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands, the United States, Thailand, Brazil, Poland, Ukraine, Russia,India, Turkey and China.

According to eMag cofounder Radu Apostolescu, the company was founded eleven years ago “on a non-existent market and adapting a trade model which seemed taken from the movies for Romania. Without clear plans and without knowing where we were heading”.

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