Telenor buys out online classifieds JV partners to concentrate on Asia

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Telenor has made moves to beef up and refocus its online classifieds business in Asia with a series of deals with joint venture partners Schibsted and Singapore Press Holdings.

Telenor said it struck a deal with Schibsted – with whom it had formed an online classifieds joint venture (SnT) in Latin America – to exit the JV and acquire Schibsted’s stake in joint ventures in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar (701 Search), resulting in net proceeds of $406 million for Telenor.

Meanwhile, Telenor has entered into a separate agreement with Singapore Press Holdings to acquire their share in online classifieds JVs in Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar for $110 million.

The result: Telenor will own 100% of classifieds services Mudah (Malaysia), Chotot (Vietnam), OneKyat (Myanmar) and ImSold (Malaysia and Vietnam). Telenor, Schibsted, Naspers and Singapore Press Holdings will remain partners in the online classifieds assets in Thailand and Indonesia.

Telenor entered into agreements with Schibsted and Singapore Press Holdings in 2013 to create joint ventures within online classifieds in Latin America and Asia. In 2015, the partners joined forces with Naspers to combine platforms in several markets, including Brazil. Following this, Telenor’s ownership in the joint ventures has been 25% in Brazil, 50% in Chile, 33.3% in Malaysia and Vietnam, 18.6% in Thailand, and 11.3% in Indonesia.

“Today’s transactions show that we have been able to create solid value from our online classifieds investments. We have had a good co-operation with our partners since we teamed up in 2013,” said Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, chief financial officer in Telenor Group. “However, as part of our efforts to simplify Telenor Group’s business portfolio and to focus on business development in geographical areas of key importance, we now wish to concentrate our online classifieds initiatives to these fully owned assets in the Asian region.”

The transactions are expected to close by end of June this year.

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