EXCLUSIVE Naspers faces shareholder revolt over Prosus share swap

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Thursday, 10 June 2021 10:20, updated on Wednesday, 17 November 2021 12:31

Bob van Dijk, CEO of Naspers and Prosus, at Amsterdam's stock exchange, as Prosus begins trading on the Euronext. September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

A group of 35 institutional investors in South African media conglomerate Naspers are protesting the company’s share swap with its Amsterdam-listed Prosus unit.

A letter sent this week to the non-executive boards of Naspers and Prosus seeks “constructive engagement” and “sends a strong message to the board” that a significant group of South African and global investors are unhappy, Rajay Ambekar, CEO of Naspers shareholder Excelsia Capital, tells The Africa Report.

Naspers has long traded at a hefty discount to the value of its assets, which include a stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent. Under plans announced in May, Naspers’ Dutch-listed spinoff Prosus will buy 45% of Naspers using its shares. The result in effect will be to move part of Naspers’ market capitalisation from Johannesburg to Amsterdam.

The South African company is in a stronger position than most listed companies to ignore dissenting shareholders.