It’s difficult to decide whether the NewCo structure just created by Naspers is a remarkably elegant solution to a multibillion-dollar challenge, or an inevitably clumsy attempt to address the competing interests of a variety of parties. For the past five years, Naspers’s primary problem has not been that it can’t sell enough newspapers or persuade more people to sign on for its tired satellite TV offering — it’s that a $36m investment made in 2001 has grown like Topsy. And it’s grown like Topsy in China, Tencent’s home, and where things are a little different; that difference is only one part of Naspers’s challenge. The biggest part of the challenge is that Naspers is just too large for the JSE. With a market cap of around R1.4-trillion it accounts for 20% of the total value of the market and as much as 16% of daily trade. It means that whatever happens to Naspers on any particular day largely determines whether the JSE goes up or down. Of course what happens to Naspers is code for...

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