Will Naspers’s NewCo Europe be a worthy counterweight to US tech giants?
The $100bn listing is great for the continent, but there are a few reasons for would-be investors to manage their enthusiasm
The perennial worry about European technology is that there isn’t a consumer-facing giant to rival the size of Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon.com. In one fell swoop, it’s about to get one. Sort of. Naspers, SA’s most valuable company, plans to list its internet businesses in Amsterdam by distributing a stake of about 25% to existing shareholders, while retaining the rest of the new holding company. The valuation could top $100bn. A direct comparison with the Silicon Valley titans is unfair, since Johannesburg-based Naspers’s size has nothing to do with its own operations. The new company will be more akin to SoftBank. That’s because the SA firm is largely a proxy for Chinese web behemoth Tencent, in which it has a 31% stake. Naspers derives all of its value from the investment — its holdings in the likes of Germany’s Delivery Hero and Russia’s Mail.ru contribute nothing.
Considering that its Tencent holding is worth $133bn, but its market capitalisation is ...