Earlier this week, rumors and reports started circulating that MTN Group, one of Afrika's largest telecommunications companies, was looking to sell its 40% shareholding in JUMIA, a Rocket Internet founded e-commerce company. However, MTN has since come out to deny these reports.
JUMIA, which has presence in several countries in Afrika, is said to be valued at $1 billion.
"We currently have no plans to dispose of our investment in Jumia in the short term,” sain an MTN Group spokesperson in a statement.
E-commerce in Afrika
The rumors, which originated from an article by Bloomberg, stated that MTN was exploring selling its shares in JUMIA while also considering an initial public offering (IPO) of the e-commerce company on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange. Given the $1 billion valuation of JUMIA, the question that lingered on was who the potential buyer could be.
Were MTN to sell its shares in JUMIA, without an IPO, the only potential buyer big enough to consider it is likely Naspers. Naspers has already made significant investments in the e-commerce sector after merging Kalahari.net and takealot several years. Since then, it has invested over $100 million into takealot while it has also acquired other smaller e-commerce startups. However, all this investment by Naspers has been focussed on the e-commerce in South Africa. Thus, were MTN to decode to sell its stake in JUMIA, we wouldn't be surprised to see Naspers consider it as it would give them presence in markets where they don't have any or have previously failed with OLX.