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Jiji acquires struggling Cars45 operations in Kenya, Ghana & Nigeria

Jiji, the popular classifieds marketplace that took over OLX SSA from the Naspers Group as Walie Holdings, has today acquired Cars45 operations in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria for an undisclosed amount.

Jiji, supported by Lemma.Group, says the deal promises a new level of trade experience for auto buyers and sellers across the three countries where Cars45’s performance was wanting.

According to Anton Volyansky, CEO and co-founder of Jiji: “We are looking forward to creating a new advanced experience for Cars45 users. Undoubtedly, our collaboration on future products and services will bring additional value to the consumers. For Jiji, it’s the first bold step into the transactional business model and an important foundation for building the future of the company.”

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With the deal, Cars45 users will benefit from Jiji’s market-leading products in online classifieds. In turn, Cars45 brings a unique O2O car buying and selling service, where cars can safely be sold instantly to dealers or via a consumer marketplace to other consumers.

Together, users in the auto sector can expect a new level of convenience in buying and selling cars, combining online and offline capabilities.

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The acquisition is not a surprise to TechMoran as Cars45 was hit by resignations, terminations, and accusations of mismanagement and misappropriation with people familiar with the matter arguing the rot was more than a year deep and deeper than the firm could solve. To save face, Cars45 hired Soumobroto Ganguly as its new Chief Executive who took over from co-founder and former CEO, Etop Ikpe.

Ganguly was expected to drive business development and marketing, finance and fund raising and he is said to have been the guy behind the acquisition as he previously worked as the Deputy Managing Director of Genesis Group in  Nigeria. Genesis Group owned and operated Jiji then but it has spun Jiji out as an independent outfit.

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As a former Genesis executive, Ganguly did try to turn Cars45 around with the launch of GoMechanic45 and EasyShipDirect to reclaim its position in Nigeria’s automotive industry. GoMechanic45 was to provide quality and affordable car repair services for consumers and corporates while EasyShipDirect was to facilitate the shipping of clean-titled cars into the country to help the government realize revenue via the payment of import duties.

The turnaround did not work as fast as expected. Therefore opening doors for acquisition talks with his former bosses at Genesis/ Jiji which had raised $21 million to grow its classifieds business in Africa. Genesis Technologies, co-founded by Vladimir Mnogoletniy, which operates Jiji and other sites in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, said its funding which total $50 million was to be used to increase the overall number of buyers, sellers, and transactions on its site. The company also aimed to use the funding to upgrade the platform to create more listings and faster matching in the area of real-estate and autos, its two biggest verticals.

“With this transaction we plan to build the largest Africa-based classifieds business, creating a new experience for Africa’s fastest-developing countries and their combined population of 300 million. We firmly believe that in the next 2-3 years ours will be one of the top 10 classifieds businesses in the world by traffic,” said Vladimir Mnogoletniy, Board Director and co-founder of Jiji said on Jiji’s earlier purchase of OLX.

“The merger is the next logical step in Jiji development as the leading e-commerce platform on the continent. Our strategy implies moving further into transactional marketplace models and Cars45 merger is an important step in its realisation. We’re excited by the perspectives of the joint business and by the variety of additional options that both Jiji and Cars45 customers will have,” said Vladimir Mnogoletniy, co-founder and board member of Jiji.

Soumobroto Ganguly, CEO of Cars45 also agrees that merging with Jiji is aimed at creating a new kind of automotive retail experience for users in Africa.

“We are confident of jointly building an African Champion in the O2O Automotive Sector. Together we look forward to making transactions transparent and convenient for our customers, dealers and franchisees across all our current and future markets.

Cars45’s key value is its network of inspection centres where cars are inspected by more than 200 parameters. Unlike a classifieds marketplace where checks are inadequately carried out, transactional models employed by platforms like Cars45 ensure quality checks and detailed reports on a car’s condition with various databases.

The acquisition will see the operations of Cars45 and Jiji merged to create a single organisation which will offer unique services for car sellers, buyers and dealers in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. Cars45 had raised more than $120 million for its pan-African expansion and it was either too early for the market or its execution and management was poor. Jiji will change this.

James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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