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Seek invests $20mn in One Africa Media

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Australia and New Zealand online employment services provider Seek says it has invested US$20 million for a 25% stake in African internet multi-classifieds firm One Africa Media (OAM).

OAM owns, operates and invests in a portfolio of online marketplaces across Jobs, Cars, Real Estate and Travel. Among the websites that OAM operates includes the likes of Nigerian job search site Jobberman (Nigeria), Kenyan car website Cheki, and South Africa and Nigeria’s Private Property.

OAM claims to be “Africa's largest online classifieds group by traffic, page views, ad volume and revenue.” One Africa Media further says that it “employs over 350 people throughout Africa and has offices in Durban, Cape Town, Nairobi and Lagos.”

In Australia, Seek says that seek.com.au hosts approximately 75% of all jobs on Australia’s major job sites with an estimated 110,000 job advertisements posted on this website and 24 million monthly visits. In New Zealand, Seek adds that seek.co.nz is that country’s leading job advertisements website with approximately 16,000 listings in May 2013.

Seek, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), also has a presence in Asia and Latin America.

And following Seek’s investment in OAM, Seek officials say they plan to appoint one director to the board, hold typical minority shareholder protections and account for OAM as an associate.

The investment has been funded via its cash reserves, says Seek in a trading statement.

Seek’s reasoning for investing in OAM is that it wants “exposure to early stage high growth African markets”.

Examples of this potential for growth exist in nations such as Kenya, where that country’s communications watchdog has said that internet user numbers there grew 11.6% between October and December 2012 to reach 16.2 million, outpacing mobile voice users growth of just 1% in the country.

“OAM’s businesses and operations are in countries with rapidly growing internet and mobile penetration rates,” Seek has said in a trading statement.

“OAM has a track record of revenue growth but is investing in building marketplaces and is not currently profitable. OAM will utilise the majority of SEEK’s investment to fund further growth in its portfolio and will continue to re-invest to capture the large market opportunities across Africa,” Seek added.

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