Naspers Ltd. (NPN) may acquire 10 to 20 Internet companies this year as Africa’s largest media company considers expansion in eastern Europe, Chief Executive Officer Koos Bekker said.
“We see some investment opportunities in the e-commerce space, although opportunities are lower than we’ve had in the past,” Bekker said today in a phone interview from Cape Town, where the company is based. The company will probably study 100 to 200 potential acquisitions this year, after having examined as many as 300 annually in the last two years, he said. “We close about one in 20 deals that we look at.”
Most of the opportunities are in eastern Europe, where the company owns an 80 percent interest in Turkey’s Vipindirim Electronic Services Plc. The South African company is considering fewer and smaller deals as the number of attractive targets declines, the CEO said.
Naspers, which spent 1.85 billion rand ($221 million) on acquisitions in the year through March, had 9.8 billion rand in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period, up from 8.7 billion rand a year earlier, it said in a statement today.
“There isn’t much to buy with the cash,” said Bekker.
Revenue in the year through March 2013 will rise at the same pace as in fiscal 2012, he said. Profit growth will remain “fairly flat” as the company will also use cash to invest in existing businesses, Bekker said.
“We’re the number one Internet company in eastern Europe,” Bekker said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org