White & Case has advised Naspers Limited, the South African-based global Internet and media company, on its USD 1.2 billion investment in Avito, the leading online classifieds platform in Russia. Naspers is buying shares from existing shareholders to increase its stake in the Swedish holding company Avito AB from 17.4 percent to 67.9 percent on a fully diluted basis. Ashurst advised Avito on the matter.
Naspers is a broad-based multinational Internet and media group offering services in more than 130 countries. Its principal operations are in ecommerce, video entertainment, and print media. White & Case also advised Naspers during 2013 on its initial investment in Avito. Avito has since expanded successfully into classified verticals and, according to White & Case, it "is now a leading player in five key verticals: general goods, auto, real estate, jobs and services.
Since 2013, Avito has become one of the top ten websites by traffic in Russia with around 35 million unique monthly visitors and 8.6 billion monthly page views. In 2014, the company reported revenues of USD 76.5 million (up 76 percent year-on-year) and an EBITDA margin of 50.6 percent.
White & Case Partner Eric Michailov, who led the firm’s deal team, said: “This deal clearly demonstrates that the Russian market is still very attractive for foreign investors, especially in such a rapidly changing sector such as technology, media & telecommunications.” According to data from Mergermarket, the investment is the second largest private transaction by value this year with a Swedish target company.
The White & Case team was led by Michailov, with support from Moscow based Local Partner Anastasia Putilova and Associates Ksenia Tyunik, Ekaterina Palagina, and Ekaterina Tulaeva. The firm's Stockholm team was led by Partner Johan Steen with support from Associates Christian Holmberg, John Gustafsson, and Hanna Wingren.