SPH sells stake in 701Search to Telenor ASA for nearly US$109 million

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has sold its stake in 701Search to Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor ASA for approximately US$109 million. Upon closing, 701Search will cease to be an associate company of SPH.

According to SPH, the transaction does not include SPH Interactive International (SPHI)’s effective ownership of 18.6% and 13.3% in Thailand and Indonesia respectively in the online classified joint ventures with Schibsted, Telenor and Naspers Limited.

Meanwhile, SPH said it will continue to invest in the digital business and look out for opportunities in Singapore and the region. This will be subject to economics and business outlook considerations.

701Search is a joint venture between SPHI, Schibsted Media Group and Telenor Group, specialising in building and growing online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. It was first established in 2006 and welcomed Telenor as an equal partner in 2013, SPH said. Meanwhile, Norway’s Schibsted will also sell its stake to Telenor.

701Search currently operates the online classified sites: in Vietnam, in Myanmar, in Malaysia and ImSold, an online classifieds mobile app.

“701Search has performed well over the last 10 years since it started. This transaction presents an attractive opportunity for us to realise our investment. Telenor would be in the best position to continue growing the business further, deriving synergies between the online classifieds business and its telecommunications business,” Alan Chan, chief executive officer of SPH, said.

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