Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) has announced the proposed divestment of its stake in 701Search Pte Ltd (701Search) to Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor ASA for a consideration of approximately $109 million (S$153.4 million).
701Search is a media firm founded in 2006 with SPH Interactive International Pte Ltd (SPHI) and Norway’s Schibsted Classified Media AS as equal partners.
It develops and operates online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. It operates online classified websites for consumers and advertisers to upload content and advertising in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Its marketplaces are used for buying and selling goods online.
In 2013, Telenor became another partner in the joint venture (JV) between SPH and Schibsted Media Group. Currently, 701Search operates the online classified sites: Chotot.vn in Vietnam, OneKyat.com in Myanmar, Mudah.my in Malaysia and ImSold, an online classifieds mobile app.
Besides SPHI, Norway’s Schibsted will also sell its stake to Telenor. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other relevant approvals and conditions. Upon closing, 701Search will cease to be an associate company of SPH.
This transaction does not include SPHI’s effective ownership of 18.6 per cent and 13.3 per cent in Thailand and Indonesia respectively in the online classified joint ventures with Schibsted, Telenor and Naspers Limited.
Alan Chan, CEO of SPH, said, “701Search has performed well over the last 10 years since it started. This transaction presents an attractive opportunity for us to realise our investment. Telenor would be in the best position to continue growing the business further, deriving synergies between the online classifieds business and its telecommunications business.”
According to a media release, SPH will continue to invest in the digital business and look out for opportunities in Singapore and the region, subject to economics and business outlook considerations.