Online ad firms to boost business in region

12May 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Online ad firms to boost business in region

Two major e-commerce companies in Africa providing online content services and running top classifieds platforms have merged their operations to create the largest business group in the sub-sector.

The merger between Ringier Africa and One Africa Media (OAM) Pan-African Classifieds Assets was announced here on Tuesday as part of the side events at the World Economic Forum (WEF-Africa) 2016 summit which kicked off yesterday.

The development is in line with the focus of the forum, which seeks to help Africa to use the unfolding Fourth Industrial Revolution to better business operations, deliver economic growth and guarantee its people social prosperity.

The created company, Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM), will enhance the market status of Zoom Tanzania, which is one of the brands to be owned by the new company in the region. The other brands in East Africa in the group’s stable are Kenya’s Pigiame and BuyRentKenya, Cheki that operates in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya as well as Brighter Monday, which has a presence in the three markets.

“Ringier Africa and One Africa Media (OAM) have agreed to merge their pan-African classifieds assets to create and grow Africa’s largest classifieds group,” the statement announcing the move reads.

“In the joint venture deal announced today (Tuesday), Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) was officially launched - becoming Africa’s classifieds leader, comprising some of the continent’s leading homegrown brands, including OAM’s Jobberman, Brighter Monday, Cheki, BuyRent Kenya and PrivateProperty Nigeria and Ringier Africa’s Expat-Dakar, ZoomTanzania and PigiaMe,” it adds.

The statement also said the existing shareholders of both companies have committed to continuing to significantly invest in the new business to build its market leadership. Apart from the assets that form part of the deal, OAM is also a stakeholder in the South African-based Private Property South Africa & Safari Now.

OAM’s largest investors and shareholders are Tiger Global Management, a New York-based investment company and SEEK, a leading employment classifieds group doing business in 17 markets across the world where it serves over four million people. Ringier Africa is fully owned by Ringier AG, Switzerland’s leading international media company.

“As millions more Africans come online to connect and conduct commerce, predominantly via mobile, Ringier One Africa Media is strategically positioned to lead the marketplace’s double digit growth, covering both vertical - car, real estate and jobs - and horizontal classifieds businesses,” the partner companies said in the joint statement.

“The new joint venture between the companies and further joint investment into its brands will enable the creation of nation-wide synergetic classifieds systems allowing for improved user experience and much improved audience reach across currently six African countries in three strategic regions: Nigeria and Ghana in English-speaking West Africa; Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa; and Senegal in French-speaking West Africa,” they further note.

OAM’s CEO Justin Clarke becomes the acting CEO of the new group. According to him, the created synergies are huge and the two firms fit so well together. Ringier Africa & Asia CEO Robin Lingg said they now have a clear, focused vision to operate and grow Sub Saharan Africa’s most innovative, expansive and profitable classifieds company together.

Since it was founded in 2010 by Clarke and the late Carey Eaton, One Africa Media has aggregated and grown Africa’s largest marketplaces in employment, auto and property. Its shareholder SEEK currently does business in Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa, Kenya, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Ringier Africa is one of the leading diversified digital media company in Africa. It operates digital publishing classifieds and e-commerce platforms, as well as a digital marketing agency across Africa. Launched on the continent in 2011, Ringier Africa represents the most recent international expansion of the Swiss media enterprise Ringier, which established successful operations in emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Asia since 1989.