Naspers, Didata Said to Be in Talks to Sell South African Venture VAST

(Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd. and a South African unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. are in talks to sell their joint venture in the country to fiber-optic infrastructure company Link Africa, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Investec Ltd. is managing the sale of VAST Networks, for which Link has offered 450 million rand ($33 million), said the people, asking not to be identified because the details are private. The deal is not yet final and terms could change, said two of the people.

Naspers, owns 51 percent of VAST, which according to its website is Africa’s largest public Wi-Fi network, while NTT’s Johannesburg-based Dimension Data, holds the balance. Shares in Naspers rose 2.2 percent to trade at 3,080.96 rand as of 4:49 p.m. on Tuesday, valuing the company at 1.36 trillion rand.

Naspers and Dimension Data declined to comment. Link Africa and Investec didn’t immediately respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.

VAST was started in 2015 to provide open-access Wi-Fi network infrastructure in South Africa and holds a number of exclusive agreements with businesses. For Link Africa, which lays fiber networks, the asset is attractive because it anticipates 5G networks being rolled out in South Africa. Those need high cell-phone density.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.