Cinven, Permira Buy Allegro From Naspers for $3.25 Billion

  • Naspers unit had attracted rival bids from CVC, Advent groups
  • Permira and Mid Europa submitted joint bid with Cinven

Cinven Ltd., Permira and Mid Europa Partners agreed to buy Naspers Ltd.’s Polish online auction site Allegro for $3.25 billion, taking on rivals such as EBay Inc. in the eastern European country.

The deal is part of Cape Town-based Naspers’s strategy to profit from its investments, according to a statement from the company Friday. Naspers bought Allegro in 2008 for about $1.5 billion. The acquiring group beat out other private-equity consortia including CVC Capital Partners and General Atlantic and a group composed of Advent International Corp. and Hellman & Friedman LLC, people familiar with the matter had said.

Naspers rose earlier in the day after Bloomberg first reported on the sale. The stock gained as much as, 6.4 percent in Johannesburg and was trading 5.8 percent higher to 2,318.95 rand at 4:14 p.m., giving the company a market value of over 1 trillion rand ($71 billion).

Naspers is facing challenges from U.S. technology companies and weaker African currencies as the continent’s biggest company by market value tries to grow its internet and pay-TV businesses. Naspers hired Morgan Stanley to advise on a potential sale of Allegro, people familiar with the plans said in June.

Allegro, which is similar to U.S. website EBay, is the no. 1 e-commerce platform in eastern Europe with more than 14 million monthly users, according to Naspers’s website.

If completed, the deal will be one of the five largest acquisitions of a Polish asset ever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Companies in the country have announced $3.5 billion in mergers and acquisitions this year, down about 50 percent from the same period a year ago.

Naspers plans to use the proceeds to repay debt, fund its e-commerce businesses and finance new acquisitions. Naspers said it remains committed to its remaining assets in Poland, including online and mobile payment provider PayU.

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