Shareholders approve Naspers, Prosus share swap

The deal has attracted much criticism from fund managers for its complexity and incentives for management

FILE PHOTO: Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Oct. 9, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
PROSUS-NASPERS M&A-STRATEGY FILE PHOTO: Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Oct. 9, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Naspers shareholders on Friday overwhelmingly approved the company’s plans to address the much-criticised gap between its market value and the sum of its assets via a share swap.

The deal, which is also intended to cut Naspers’s weighting on the JSE and increase the free float of its global internet arm Prosus, is the latest in a string of attempts by management to narrow the multibillion-rand valuation shortfall.

The deal will see Prosus, which was spun out of Naspers and listed in Amsterdam in 2019 as part of a previous attempt to deal with Naspers’s share price discount, issue new shares in exchange for a stake of about 45% in Naspers.

The resolutions were passed with just over 90% of shareholders in favour of the proposal, that was probably bolstered by approval from holders of N shares that carry more voting rights.

The complex nature of the deal has not won favour with investors; Naspers and Prosus shares have fallen about 9% since the plan was announced two months ago.

Last month, 36 asset managers criticised the deal for its complexity and the incentives offered to management.  

gavazam@businesslive.co.za

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