Bekker unloads billions of Rands worth of Naspers shares

Naspers chairman Koos Bekker has reportedly sold as many as 70% of the shares he holds in the emerging markets internet and media giant, unloading as many as 11.7 million Naspers N shares.

According to an article published on MoneyWeb, Bekker sold the shares between April 2014 and March 2015. That corresponds roughly with his retirement from the position of Naspers CEO and his replacement of Ton Vosloo as chairman.

During that time, the financial publication points out, individual Naspers shares were valued at between R992 and R1870, meaning that Bekker sold the shares for anywhere between R11.5-billion and R21.8-billion. Whichever way you spin it, that’s a lot of Moolah.

That Bekker held so many shares in Naspers is largely as a result of the fact that he never drew a salary in 14 years as CEO, preferring to take share options in the company.

The share sale was confirmed by Naspers investor relations head Meloy Horn.

Read more: Life after Koos Bekker: where to next for Naspers?

“After Bekker retired as CEO last year, he exercised the options and sold the shares,” Horn told Moneyweb. “The net return was the difference in the selling price and the strike price of the options, after he paid the full marginal tax rate on the profits.”

Bekker took over as Naspers CEO in 1997, having joined the company in 1985 when he helped launch MNet — South Africa’s first pay TV channel. In the 2000s he lead two of the company’s most successful investments into Chinese internet giant Tencent and Russia’s

It’s largely on the back of those investments — especially the one in Tencent — that Naspers’ share price has ridden to the heights it has. The company is today valued at more than R700-billion, up from R6.5-billion in 1997.

According to Horn, Bekker still owns 4.7 million indirect beneficial shares which are held in a trust. Those shares mean he’s still a top 15 shareholder in the company.



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.