Carousell bags Naspers funding, confirms acquisition of OLX Philippines

Carousell co-founders Marcus Tan, Lucas Ngoo and Quek Siu Rui

Online marketplace Carousell on Wednesday announced that it has raised around $56 million from Naspers through its classifieds arm OLX Group. As part of the deal, the Singapore firm will acquire the Philippines operations of OLX.

DEALSTREETASIA had earlier in the day reported that Carousell had acquired the Philippines business of OLX as part of an unspecified investment from Naspers.

According to a Carousell statement, the deal values it at over $550 million and gives OLX around 10 per cent stake in it. This is the first investment by Naspers in a Singapore startup.

TechCrunch first reported the talks between Naspers and Carousell in June last year and said the Singapore company was seeking a valuation of $500 million.

“Naspers’ investment will enable us to accelerate the cementing of our leadership in Southeast Asia and our pace of innovation. We will continue deepening our expertise in technology and AI to bring greater value, trust and convenience to our users,” said OLX co-founder and CEO Quek Siu Rui.

Carousell said that OLX Philippines is currently the largest online classifieds site in the country, with more than 6 million monthly unique users. Its acquisition will make the Singapore-based firm the largest mobile classifieds marketplace in Southeast Asia.

“We are excited to increase our presence in Asia via a fast-growing company such as Carousell, which has deep knowledge across the region. We look forward to learning from them and sharing our own experience of operating in high-growth markets across five continents. Together, we believe we can offer the very best classifieds experience to the local market,” said OLX Group CEO Martin Scheepbouwer.

Carousell expects to integrate OLX’s operations and subsidiaries in the Philippines by the second half of 2019. Raffy Montemayor, General Manager of OLX Philippines, will manage Carousell’s operations in the market and lead the transition.

Earlier this month, OLX sold its businesses in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania to African classifieds marketplace Jiji.

Commenting on the sale of the businesses in Africa, OLX Africa, Middle East and Asia general manager Sjoerd Nikkelen had said, “We continually evaluate our portfolio of classifieds businesses to ensure a disciplined approach to how and where we allocate capital and management time. With our focus on accelerating the growth of other markets, now is an opportune time to sell our interests in these markets.”

Carousell had last raised an $85-million Series C round in May, led by Rakuten Ventures and EDBI. The round was joined by existing investors 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures and Sequoia India, as well as new investor, Asian financial services group DBS.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12.22 am SGT on April 11 after Carousell issued a statement on the Naspers investment and acquisition of OLX Philippines. A previous version of this story said that Carousell had acquired the Philippines business of the classifieds company, citing a source close to the development.)

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.