Naspers Chairman Bob Van Dijk steps down

Get Naspers Ltd’s free updates

Bob van Dijk will step down as chief executive of Naspers, the South African internet company and the largest single shareholder in China’s Tencent through its investment arm Prosus.

Van Dijk, who has been in charge of Naspers since 2014, will leave his position as group chairman effective September 18, the Johannesburg-listed company said on Monday.

He will also leave as chairman of Prosus, the Amsterdam-listed investment vehicle through which Naspers controls a range of global internet assets from Indian payments to Brazilian food delivery companies.

Irvin Tu, chief investment officer of both companies, will serve as interim CEO of the two entities.

Van Dijk “agreed to help with the transition.” . . “He will remain as an advisor to the group until September 30, 2024,” Naspers said.

He left the top job after a long period during which Naspers struggled with the rising value of its stake in Tencent, which overwhelmed its other investments and eventually led to it outperforming the local stock market.

Van Dijk led Prosus’ 2019 listing to reallocate Tencent’s stake in response and took other measures to address the significant gap between Naspers’ value and its stake in Tencent. These included buybacks financed through the gradual sale of the Chinese company’s shares.

He oversaw the creation and unwinding of a cross-shareholding structure between Prosus and its parent, which was launched to further reduce Naspers’ weight on the JSE. But investors criticized it as complex and confusing.

Tu joined Naspers in 2021 from SoftBank, where he was managing partner at the Japanese conglomerate’s investment vehicle Vision Fund.

As head of Naspers, Van Dijk succeeded current chairman Koos Becker, the media mogul who turned a pay-TV publisher and operator with a dark apartheid past into a global Internet investor with his 2001 bet on Tencent, then a small start-up.

Van Dijk has overseen international expansion including multi-billion dollar investments by Naspers in companies in India such as delivery app Swiggy and online learning group Byju’s.

“During this time, significant businesses have been created in classifieds, food delivery and payments, while we have also entered many new areas,” Baker said.

Under Van Dijk’s leadership, Naspers has also spun off MultiChoice, Africa’s largest pay-TV company, and Prosus made a major foray into the US tech market in 2021 with the $1.8 billion acquisition of Stack Overflow, the Q&A site for software developers. .

Naspers remains under investor pressure to find more solutions to the gap between its share price and assets, including its 26 percent stake in Tencent, which Naspers said remains of strategic value.

Prosus seeks to increase returns and profitability in its other assets. It has also had to contend with deteriorating investments in Byju’s, with Prosus recently saying management “regularly ignores” its advice.

On Monday, Naspers and Prosus also completed the removal of the joint shareholding structure, which was established in 2021.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: