Europes SoftBank Prosus Plays Long Game to Shrink Value Gap


AMSTERDAMJOHANNESBURG Reuters Prosus, Europes answer to SoftBank and its Vision Fund, is betting that its longterm investments can fill a yawning valuation gap and give it the same name recognition as one of the worlds most aggressive technology investors.

Based in the Netherlands, Prosus was spun out of South Africas Naspers in 2019 with a mandate to manage the spoils of a 32 million bet on Chinas Tencent, now worth 200 billion, on a 30year investment horizon.

Japanese giant SoftBanks own firepower is backstopped by its stake in Alibaba, which has its origins in CEO Masayoshi Sons 20 million investment in the Chinese ecommerce firm.

A banker who has worked with both Prosus and Softbank describes them as the two global elephants out there with massive permanent capital for tech investments, and the rivals are also sometimes coinvestors.

In an indication of its ambition, Prosus last month hired Ervin Tu, a managing partner at Vision Fund and a former technology banker at Goldman Sachs, to head its group MA.

Jean Pierre Verster, CEO of South African investment manager Protea, which holds almost 10 of its fund assets in Prosus, says Tus appointment tells you that theres probably going to be more MA activity coming down the line.

That is already evident as since April, Prosus has made a dozen investments, last month announcing the 1.8 billion acquisition of software developer platform Stack Overflow.

We have significant capacity on the balance sheet, and we also see…

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