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S.Africa’s Naspers raises $1.66 bln via Prosus share sale

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Naspers Ltd said on Wednesday it sold around 1.5 billion euros ($1.66 billion) worth of shares in Prosus, the Amsterdam-listed subsidiary housing its internet empire.

Last year, Naspers spun off Prosus along with its most valuable asset – a 30% stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent.

The South African company said on Tuesday, when it announced the share sale, that it had seen significant interest in Prosus from new investors and the placing would offer “an opportunity to the broad investment community to get exposure” to the stock.

The e-commerce group sold about 22 million Prosus shares, priced at 67.5 euros per share, on Tuesday via an accelerated bookbuild to institutional investors. This increased Prosus’ free float to 27.5% from 26.2%, and reduced Naspers’ holding to 72.5%.

All proceeds will go to Naspers, which will use the funds to buy back shares over time, the company said.

The funds could acquire around 2.2% of Naspers’ stock, with a buyback at the Naspers level representing better value for the group because the stock trades at a discount to that of Prosus, Jefferies said in a note.

“It is not the (Prosus-level) buyback bulls had expected … although attention to discount/buybacks is good-mood music overall,” Jefferies said.

Naspers shares were up 1.88%, as of 0719 GMT.

($1 = 0.9022 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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