WARSAW, Jan 14 (Reuters) - South African e-commerce and media firm Naspers is looking to sell its Polish operations, including Eastern Europe’s largest web auction service Allegro, sources said on Wednesday.
“The Allegro business has ripened. Naspers is looking to sell the whole lot,” one market source told Reuters, speaking on condition on anonymity. Naspers wants to focus more on faster growing markets like Brazil and China.
A second source confirmed the plan, listing Poland’s largest web portals Wp.pl and Onet.pl among potential bidders. Onet.pl is controlled by Ringier Axel Springer -- German publisher Axel Springer’s joint venture with Swiss Ringier .
Neither Naspers, nor Allegro had any comment on the issue.
Unlike in many countries, where Ebay is the leading online market place for consumers, Allegro is Poland’s largest Internet auctioneer by far with 12.5 million users a month.
Allegro is the largest company in the 30-billion zloty ($8.2 billion) Polish e-commerce market. Naspers bought it in 2007 for 946 million pounds ($1.44 billion) and used the Allegro model in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ukraine, or Russia.
Its Polish operations also include smaller web auctioneers, Internet price comparison services and messaging service Gadu-Gadu.
Allegro is in restructuring mode, planning to focus on its core businesses. On Tuesday it sold its business portals operator Bankier.pl to the Polish unit of Swedish publishing group Bonnier for an undisclosed sum.
Naspers is Africa’s biggest company by market value. It has e-commerce interests across dozens of countries, with stakes in Russian social network Mail.ru and Chinese Internet portal Tencent.
By focusing on e-commerce and media operations in emerging markets, Cape Town-based Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher into a $60 billion media and Internet giant. ($1 = 0.6592 pounds) ($1 = 3.6484 zlotys) (Writing by Adrian Krajewski; Additional reporting from Helen Nyambura-Mwaura in Johannesburg; editing by Keith Weir)