Schibsted Jumps Most Ever on Classifieds Joint-Ventures

Schibsted ASA jumped the most since listing and Naspers Ltd. had the biggest climb in six years after announcing a deal for joint ventures in online classifieds across four countries, including Brazil and Indonesia.

The media companies will join forces with Telenor ASA and Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. to develop online classifieds businesses also in Thailand and Bangladesh, Oslo-based Schibsted said in a statement yesterday. Schibsted climbed as much as 37 percent to 498.8 kroner, the biggest advance and the highest price since its Oslo listing in 1992. Naspers rose as much as 12 percent in Johannesburg, the steepest intraday advance since 2008.

“Schibsted and Naspers will merge their classified sites in several geographies with each party taking control in different markets,” Andrew Ross, an analyst at Barclays, said in a note today. “This forms a clear number one player in each geography and alleviates the previous aggressive competition between the two players in each of these markets.”

Schibsted, which traces its roots back to 1839, is expanding its online business as consumers move away from traditional print media. The group, which owns Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, and Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, is seeking to replicate the success of its Finn.no, Blocket.se and Leboncoin.fr websites in regions including Asia and South America.

Vibrant Market

Naspers dominates the TV market in Africa and has interests in emerging markets around the world, including stakes in Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Russian Internet company Mail.ru Group Ltd. The Cape Town-based company is investing heavily in operations including the classifieds and e-commerce units.

“We believe by joining forces we’ll create a more vibrant market place, we’ll create more liquidity for our buyers, we’ll create a better audience for our sellers,” Naspers Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk said on a conference call today. “We’re covering the markets that we believe are the most important and will create a great deal of value.”

Schibsted will have a gain of 300 million kroner ($44 million) to 400 million kroner from the deal, which is cash-neutral and isn’t expected to have significant tax effects, it said. The agreement requires European Union approval and is expected to close early next year.

The stock rose 26 percent to 458.9 kroner at 11:12 a.m. in Oslo, for an advance of 14 percent this year, giving the company a market value of about 49.6 billion kroner. Naspers advanced 8.3 percent to 1,548 rand in Johannesburg, a 20-year high. Telenor climbed 1.2 percent to 156 kroner in the Norwegian capital.

It’s a “game-changing deal for Schibsted in key emerging markets,” analysts at DNB ASA said in a note. This implies potential consensus earnings-per-share increases of about 50 percent for 2015 and 40 percent the following year, according to the note.

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