SINGAPORE - 701Search, Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) JV media company specialising in building and growing online marketplaces in regional emerging markets, will have a new partner in Telenor ASA, Norway's leading telecommunications operator.
701Search was established in 2006 with SPH Interactive International Pte Ltd (SPHI) and Norway's Schibsted Classified Media AS as equal partners. It operates the online classified companies Mudah.my (Malaysia), Berniaga.com (Indonesia), Ayosdito.ph (The Philippines) and Chotot.vn (Vietnam).
With this strategic move, 701Search will be able to reap potential synergies by leveraging on Telenor's established Asian telecommunications network, mobile internet capabilities and subscriber base. Telenor's expertise in mobile is also useful as 701Search brings online classifieds into the mobile sphere.
Together with Schibsted, which brings extensive knowledge and experience from the online classifieds business as well as SPH, a leading media company in Singapore with expertise in print and online advertising, 701Search will greatly benefit from the contributions of all three shareholders when the transactions are completed by the end of the year.
The transactions are subject to regulatory and other relevant approvals and conditions. On closing, 701Search will be owned 1/3 by SPHI, 1/3 by Schibsted and 1/3 by Telenor. 701Search will continue with its business of offering online classifieds in the region.
Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH, said:"701Search has turned in a good performance since it started, achieving market dominance in some areas and growing rapidly in others. With the participation of another strategic investor, and the different strengths and extensive knowledge of SPH, Schibsted and Telenor, we can work towards penetrating the online classifieds market in South East Asia and beyond."
"We believe we will succeed in bringing our popular products and proven business-models to rapidly developing economies in Asia. This joint venture formed by three knowledge-driven and industrially oriented companies gives us even more financial and operational strength to pursue attractive number 1 positions. We can do more, and we can move faster. This will improve our chance to succeed," said Schibsted CEO Rolv Erik Ryssdal.
"Bringing Internet to the masses is a key objective for Telenor. Online classifieds on mobile is growing fast. Being one of the largest mobile operators in the world with a strong footprint in emerging markets, it makes perfect sense for Telenor to team up with two world class companies like Schibsted and SPH to create a leading online classifieds player," said Rolv-Erik Spilling, EVP and Head of Telenor Digital.
"SPH, Schibsted and Telenor are a perfect match. SPH and Schibsted are leading providers of one of the most popular Internet services in online classifieds, and reach around 100 million people worldwide. Telenor is one of the world's leading mobile companies already bringing communication and Internet services to 150 million customers in Europe and Asia," said Mr Chan, Ryssdal and Spilling.