The swift and amicable retirement of Bob van Dijk, CEO of Naspers and Prosus, highlights a difficult few years for a company that was perceived as riding the coattails of its interests in Tencent, a Chinese internet powerhouse.
The complex ownership structure of the Dutch-based e-commerce investor Prosus, which is majority owned by the South African multinational Naspers, was approved by shareholders and regulatory authorities in June.
The South African Reserve Bank authorised Naspers to start repurchasing further shares from Prosus.
eliminating the cross holding
Prior to the current arrangement, Naspers, a South African company, owned a third of Tencent Holdings, the dominant internet company in China. Koos Bekker, the current chairman and founder of Naspers, made this investment in the company as early as 2001 when he spent $34 million for a 46.5% ownership part in it.
Van Dijk was in charge of the 2019 decision to separate Tencent and other tech interests into Prosus. As the stock soared amid the Covid-19 outbreak, Tencent’s market value increased dramatically, almost reaching $1 trillion. This resulted in Naspers making up close to 25% of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which presented a challenge for certain fund managers.