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Prosus CEO Van Dijk resigns after Naspers simplifies ownership

(Bloomberg) — Prosus NV and Naspers Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk stepped down as head of the tech investment group after dismantling a complex shareholder structure he set up.

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Van Dijk will remain as an advisor to the boards of Prosus and its parent company – Cape Town-based Naspers – until the end of September 2024, the companies said in a statement on Monday. Chief Investment Officer Erwin Tu will serve as interim chief executive for the companies.

In an unusual arrangement, Amsterdam-based Prosus owned about half of Cape Town-headquartered parent company Naspers. The structure, which was introduced in 2021 as an effort to address the distorting effect of the company’s large stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., was criticized by some investors as complex and ineffective.

In June, South African regulators approved a plan to remove the structure and that process is now complete.

At 9:56am Prosus shares fell 0.4% to €29.47, with Naspers shares down 0.5% in Johannesburg.

Read more: Naspers and Prosus shares surge on plan to simplify ownership

Tu, who joined Naspers and Prosus from SoftBank Group Corp two years ago, is known as a deal-maker. He also previously worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where he focused on mergers and acquisitions.

“This is an important moment of change. “I will keep a close eye on everything,” Tu said in an interview on Monday.

Tu said it would approach investments, mergers and acquisitions with discipline “on a large scale.”

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

We believe the management changes at Prosus and Naspers may signal a more pragmatic dealmaking phase, perhaps replacing complex moves such as recently opened cross-shareholdings with more effective asset sales and demergers and a cohesive strategy. Can do. Interim CEO Erwin Tu has a background in M&A, although the companies’ long-term direction will become clearer once a permanent replacement is confirmed – adding to the uncertainty in the short term.

– John Davis, BI Media and Telecom Analyst

According to TU, Prosus will continue its share buy-back program, which will be funded by the continued sale of its Tencent holding. The company owns about a quarter of the Chinese ecommerce giant.

“We want to add value over the long term, not just invest and deploy capital,” Tu said.

(Updated with context, interim CEO interview begins in first paragraph.)

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