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Australian jobs portal SEEK has invested US$25-million (R205.53-million) in One Africa Media (OAM), previously named Private Property Holdings. The deal will help the South African-based classifieds company expand its operations in Africa. A significant portion of the group is owned by Tiger Global Management, the New York-based venture capital fund that already partners with SEEK in other ventures across Asia and Latin America.
OAM is best known for its Private Property real estate listings website which it founded in 1998 to promote private sales and letting of residential real estate. The company now operates internet classifieds businesses for cars, travel, real estate and jobs.
Justin Clarke, Private Property CEO and co-founder, says that this investment is a real endorsement of Africa’s online potential.
“When we started out investing in local entrepreneurs across East and West Africa in 2010, Internet was still very young and we were able to grow organically with early monetisation but, in the last 12 months, we have started to see more competition in these markets. SEEK’s investment will enable us to accelerate growth in our existing businesses and expand operations to capitalise on the large market opportunities across the continent,” says Clarke.
“We are a great business, with the right people in the right place at the right time,” says Clarke.
OAM says that its businesses now employ over 350 people in three hubs in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, with satellite offices in Ghana and Uganda.
OAM’s portfolio includes real estate sites in South Africa and Nigeria, a travel business SafariNow which operates across South and East Africa, jobs portal Jobberman in Nigeria and Brighter Monday in Kenya, as well as car classifieds with Cheki in Kenya and Nigeria.
SEEK claims to own roughly 75% of all the job listings on Australia’s major job sites. It also has a presence in emerging economies in Asia and Latin America.
Jason Lenga, managing director of SEEK International sees the deal as an early investment in Africa’s growth.
“Internet and mobile penetration are growing rapidly and key economies within the region are experiencing substantial increases in GDP. This investment is in early-stage, market leading businesses that position OAM to benefit from both the economic and structural growth in the region,” says Lenga.