According to Telenor’s press release posted on its website, on May 11, 2017, Telenor entered into an agreement with Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA regarding its joint ventures within online classifieds, whereby Telenor exits the Latin American joint venture with Schibsted and acquires Schibsted’s stake in the joint ventures in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
In addition, Telenor has entered into an agreement with Singapore Press Holdings, a leading media organisation in Asia, to acquire its shares in its online classifieds websites in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar for $110 million.
Following these transactions, Telenor will own 100 per cent of the leading online classifieds services Mudah (Malaysia), Chotot (Vietnam), OneKyat (Myanmar), and ImSold (Malaysia and Vietnam). Telenor, Schibsted, Naspers, and Singapore Press Holdings will remain partners in their online classifieds assets in Thailand and Indonesia.
These transactions are expected to be completed by the end of June 2017.
The website Chotot was launched in Vietnam in 2012 by 701Search Pte., Ltd., a media company that develops and operates online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. Chotot soon became the go-to Vietnamese online classifieds website. In Chotot’s recent press release, CEO Bryan Teo said that the change in shareholders does not affect the company’s business strategy, as Telenor has been participating in 701Search’s businesses since 2013, and it made significant contributions to 701Search’s development.
Telenor entered into agreements with Schibsted and Singapore Press Holdings in 2013 to create joint ventures within the field of online classifieds in Latin America and Asia. In 2015, the partners joined forces with Naspers to combine platforms in several markets, including Brazil. Following this, Telenor’s ownership in the online classifieds joint ventures has been 25 per cent in Brazil, 50 per cent in Chile, 33.3 per cent in Malaysia and Vietnam, 18.6 per cent in Thailand, and 11.3 per cent in Indonesia.
Telenor is one of the biggest telecom providers in the world with a revenue over $15.3 billion in 2016. Also in 2016, it was rumoured that Telenor showed interest in becoming MobiFone’s strategic shareholder.
In Telenor Group’s financial report for the second quarter of 2017, a gain of NOK3.5 billion ($409 million) will be booked related to the disposals and an impairment of NOK0.3 billion ($35 million) will be booked relating to the Asian assets. The transactions will give a net positive cash contribution of around NOK2.5 billion ($292 million) in the second quarter of 2017.