Schibsted buys in South America, exits Asia

12 May 2017

Schibsted took a major step forward in Latin America by acquiring Telenor’s stake in Brazil and assuming full control at Chile’s No. 1 horizontal site Yapo.cl. At the same time, it exited some Asian markets.

As a result of the deal, Schibsted is now a 50-percent shareholder in Brazil’s leading horizontal site OLX Brazil together with Naspers. The move reinforces Schibsted’s confidence in the two key Latin American markets, and further increases the company’s footprint in the region. Schibsted currently owns SegundaMano.mx in Mexico, Yapo.cl in Chile, LaGuiaClasificados and real estate platform FincaRaiz in Colombia, and Corotos in the Dominican Republic.

It is also a 50-percent shareholder in OLX Brazil and a major shareholder of jobs specialist InfoJobs.com.br, which is run by minority shareholder David González Castro from RedArbor.

“It makes strong strategic and financial logic for Schibsted to increase its stakes in Brazil and Chile, and at the same time exit some Asian markets. We now have a cluster of very interesting market-leading classifieds sites not only in Brazil and Chile, but also in Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. In total, our footprint covers a LatAm population of 400 million,” Gianpaolo Santorsola, EVP of emerging markets, said.

As for OLX Brazil, Schibsted couldn’t be more confident in the Brazilian player, as revenue at the Brazilian site, Latin America’s largest horizontal site by traffic and revenue, soared 120 percent in FY2016, year-on-year.

“I am very happy to announce that Schibsted is increasing its exposure to one of the greatest successes in online classifieds in emerging markets – OLX Brazil. The underlying development is very strong, we are excited about the further prospects for strong growth both here and in Chile,” CEO of Schibsted Rolv Erik Ryssdal noted.

Schibsted said OLX Brazil is a strong competitor in the autos vertical, with seven times more cars on the site than WebMotors, including private cars. However, revenue from the autos category at OLX Brazil is still behind WebMotors’ revenue, which rose 1.3 percent in FY2016 in Brazil, year-on-year.

“Also in the professional market, OLX Brazil is No. 1 measured by the number of ads,” Schibsted said while comparing its cars category to the local autos verticals.

As for the real estate vertical in Brazil, Schibsted labeled itself as a “strong challenger.”

As previously anticipated by us on Classified Intelligence Report No. 17, dated Sept. 8, 2016, OLX Brazil always had big ambitions for the autos and real estate verticals.“We want to be the No. 1 in real estate and autos,” Marcos Leite, CCO at OLX Brazil, told AIM Group in a telephone interview at the time. “We don’t compete to be the No. 2. We used to say that, for the horizontals, the winner takes all. But, in the case of the verticals, there’s also space for other players,” he said.

In the real estate vertical, OLX Brazil claims to be the No. 1 site measured by traffic, and a “clear leader in the private market measured by the number of listings”.

In Chile, Schibsted also holds strong positions in both the autos and real estate verticals based on traffic, brand and content, and is “well-positioned to take market shares and to increase revenue going forward”.

Snt Classifieds loses strength 

At the same time as the acquisition of Telenor’s stake in Brazil and Chile strengths Schibsted’s footprint in Latin America, it also weakens the SnT Classifieds JV.

“The transaction implies that Schibsted takes over Telenor’s 50 percent of SnT Classifieds JV, which controls 50 percent of OLX Brazil and 100 percent of Yapo in Chile. At the same time, Telenor takes over Schibsted’s 33.3 percent and Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) 33.3 percent of 701 Search, the company that controls 100 percent of Mudah in Malaysia, Cho Tot in Vietnam, in addition to operations in Myanmar.

Schibsted has been a partner in SPH in Asia since 2006, and a partner of Telenor in Asia and LatAm since 2013. The cooperation continues on a smaller scale in selected Asian markets,” Schibsted explained.

It’s not clear, however, whether the remaining SnT Classifieds JV will shut down offices, or downsize its team. The JV’s main offices were in Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Barcelona and Dhaka. Key sites include Kaidee.com, Asani.com, and Ekhanei.com.

According to Schibsted, as a result of the difference in valuation between the assets in Asia and Latin America, it will pay $400 million U.S. in cash to Telenor. “Schibsted will finance the amount with debt, and has available funding,” it added.

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Léo Siqueira

Léo Siqueira joined the AIM Group in 2014 as writer and analyst for Latin America. He is a multimedia journalist based in, but not limited to Campinas, Sao Paulo. Siqueira has been writing, reporting, and consulting for different news outlets and corporations in Brazil and in the US. Siqueira has worked for almost three years as a correspondent in Brazil with ICIS, the world’s largest information provider for the global petrochemical industry, and has been working with other global publishers, such as USA TODAY and Motorsport.com. His expertise includes general news coverage, online, print and multimedia journalism, and corporate communications as well. In this particular area, he has been working with international clients.