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Home Business Naspers Selling its Swiss Online Retailer to Focus on Emerging Markets

Naspers Selling its Swiss Online Retailer to Focus on Emerging Markets

by Caroline Vutagwa
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Naspers-owned Swiss online retailer Ricardo is on sale and a willing buyer will pay between 300-400 million Swiss francs for it.

Potential buyers will however get more information on that by the end of the year.

Ricardo is Switzerland’s largest Internet auctioneer; it beats even the well known ebay Swiss on sales. According to the website, the online platform harvests about 2.3 million people trade goods worth 660 million francs (R7.46 billion) over Ricardo each year.

A sale of Ricardo would allow Naspers to invest more in fast-growing emerging markets. It already holds stakes in Russian social network Mail.ru and Chinese Internet portal Tencent.

Swiss media groups such as Ringier, which cooperates with KKR in its online classifieds business, and Tamedia , will likely express an interest in Ricardo, as will Internet-focused buyout groups, the sources said.

Ricardo started out in Germany where it was founded by Internet entrepreneurs in 1998. It listed on Germany’s now defunct tech-focused Neuer Markt a year later and acquired Swiss site auktion24.ch, which was rebranded ricardo.ch. The company was bought by Britain’s QXL group at the height of the dotcom boom in 2000 and then taken private by Naspers in 2008.

Earlier this month, Naspers joined up with Schibsted and Telenor in Norway and Singapore Press Holdings to accelerate their e-commerce businesses in four fast-growing emerging markets.

By focusing on e-commerce and media operations in emerging markets, Cape Town-based Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher into a $53 billion media and Internet giant.

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