We’ve been hearing recently that South African media conglomerate and recent DST investor Naspers was sniffing around Crasiglist competitor OLX. Today, we confirmed with OLX co-founders Alec Oxenford and Fabrice Grinda that Naspers has made a strategic investment in the online classifieds company.
While Buenos Aires-based OLX is not disclosing the amount invested, we’ve heard from sources that the investment was in the range of $20 to $40 million. Naspers also bought out the shares of all of OLX’s previous investors, which include Nexus Venture Partners, The Founders Fund, DN Capital, General Catalyst Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners. Prior to this round of funding, OLX had raised nearly $30 million.
While the free classifieds site has trouble competing with Craigslist in the U.S., OLX has a strong user base internationally, and is the current leader in Latin America and Asia. The company, which is seeing over 125 million unique visitors per month worldwide, has a presence in 90 countries in 40 languages.
In 2007 OLX has made an investment in Edeng.cn, a Chinese free classifieds site and acquired Mundoanuncio.com, a Craigslist-like classifieds site targeting the Hispanic market, in 2006. OLX also has a hold on the Philippines market thanks to a white label partnership with Friendster. And OLX scored a similar deal with social network hi5.
So why does Naspers want a stake in OLX? The conglomerate has been making a number of investments in the emerging Latin American market, including BrandsClub, Grupo Abril, Movile and Buscapé. According to a joint statement made by OLX and Naspers, the South African firm’s long-term, general strategy “is to acquire/establish a core internet community within a specific country/region and to then expand the operations by adding additional services such as e-commerce, communication, social networking, content and gaming.”
OLX provides online classifieds in many international versions, including those for India, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and South America. Fabrice Grinda and Alec Oxenford founded OLX because they wanted to improve on the offerings of Craigslist. They found that people were frustrated that you could not search at a global level, embed videos, and post in different languages. OLX has a Facebook application and mobile product, and it also runs classifieds for other companies like Friendster and Fotolog. As of early 2008, OLX...
Naspers is a leading multinational media group, incorporated in 1915 as a public limited liability company and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in September 1994. The company also has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Over the past two decades the group has evolved from a traditional print media business in one country, to a broad-based e-media company in multiple markets. The groupâ€™s principal operations are in internet platforms (focussing on commerce, communities, content, communication and...