Tencent backer Naspers in talks to invest in Carousell: report

June 13, 2018 13:39
Koos Bekker, chairman of Naspers, is said to be interested in investing in Singapore-based Carousell. Bloomberg

South African internet and media group Naspers, best known for backing Chinese social media giant Tencent in an early deal, is considering investing in Singapore-based peer-to-peer marketplace Carousell, TechCrunch reports, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Established in Southeast Asia, Carousell focuses on consumer-to-consumer business, allowing users to sell unwanted items to each other, including cars, property, jobs, services and even finance.

TechCrunch understood that the Cape Town-based conglomerate is in talks with Carousell with a view to making it the firm’s key play in Southeast Asia and other parts of the APAC region.

While the discussions are at a relatively early stage, the deal could be a minority investment that values Singapore-based Carousell at over US$500 million, according to TechCrunch.

Naspers bought 46.5 percent of Tencent, operator of Chinese popular messaging platform WeChat, for US$32 million back in 2001, and the investment surged significantly in value as the Chinese internet firm has gone on to become Asia’s first US$500 billion company last November.

The South African conglomerate has invested in Southeast Asia startups like crypto wallet Luno and blockchain startup Coins. It also had an 11.18 percent stake in Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce giant, which resulted in a US$2.2 billion gain from the sale of Flipkart to Walmart last month.

The potential investment will add Carousell into Naspers’ existing investment portfolio of classifieds services including OLX in India, Letgo in the US, and Avito in Russia.

Regarded as one of the fastest-growing startups in the region, Carousell has recently raised US$85 million from investors including Rakuten Ventures, EDBI, and Southeast Asia’s largest bank DBS, which partners with Carousell to offer financial products and payment services on its platforms.

Shortly after the funding round, Carousell announced the launch of CarouPay, a digital wallet that will enable users to complete transactions without leaving its app.

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