Tim Cohen Senior editor: Business Day

In a radio broadcast in 1939, UK prime minister Winston Churchill said "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest”. For some reason, the quote always reminds me a bit of SA’s largest locally domiciled company on the JSE, Naspers. How do you make sense of the company? It’s just mind-boggling. The company’s businesses are diverse in nature; they are geographically spread over the globe; some are wholly owned, some are investment stakes; some are fantastically profitable, some are deep in the red. They are further complicated by the fact that Naspers, as is all too well known, has one fantastic investment in the Hong Kong-based company Tencent. It’s complicated because, as market watchers know very well, it's a kind of investment riddle. Its 31% stake in Tencent is worth, at the moment, 25% more than what Naspers is worth. That means one of two things. Naspers ...

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