African Startup Acquisition in Full Swing as Jiji Acquires OLX Operations in Africa

Nigeria’s largest classifieds listing platform, Jiji has reached an agreement to acquire five OLX operations in Africa.

According to a press release, Naspers-backed OLX has agreed to sell its operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda to Nigeria’s Jiji. All traffic to local OLX websites in these countries will now redirect to Jiji.

This invariably means Jiji will no longer be restricted to Nigeria. And the move also means Jiji could perhaps be the single largest online classifieds listing platform in Africa.

Tecno phones are rapidly selling out on Drop a comment if you need one that costs less than ₦20,000.

— Jiji (@JijiNigeria) April 2, 2019

“We believe that this transaction is pivotal for Jiji’s business,” says Jiji co-founder, Vladimir Mnogoletniy. “With this transaction we plan to build the largest Africa-based classifieds business, creating a new experience for Africa’s fastest-developing countries and their combined population of 300 million.”

The move also caps the impressive and relentless growth of Jiji.

Founded in 2014 by Ukrainians Anton Wolyansky and Vladimir Mnogoletniy, Jiji faced stiff competition from OLX and a few other classifieds. But thanks to some adept growth hacking tactics, Jiji survived and ploughed itself deep into the Nigerian market.

For instance, the company partnered with Airtel to make the platform available even when users have no browsing data. The company also started a blog skilled at producing original contents that helped to rake in new readers and sent traffic to its classified ads.

Jiji has acquired Olx businesses in 4 African countries in a move to create pan-African classifieds marketplace.

This is Naspers’ second business wrapping up within the space of two years outside South Africa.

Last month, Media24, a subsidiary of Nasper…

— Aderemi Ojekunle (@RemmyAlex) April 3, 2019

Importantly, despite all the ecommerce and online business collapses Nigeria has recorded in recent times, Jiji looked solid. It became the biggest classifieds platform in Nigeria after OLX shut down its local offices.

Execution failure:

All of OLX’s operations in the continent will now be coordinated from South Africa office, as the company seeks to minimise losses. Olx has struggled to spread its footprint in the two African markets.

— Sura Mbaya (@surambaya) March 26, 2019

The sale of OLX websites in the five Africa countries is still awaiting regulatory approval though. But it is expected to be finalized this month.

Startup Acquisition in Africa Continues to Grow

Meanwhile, Jiji’s acquisition of OLX units pushes the narratvive about the rising acquisition culture amongst African startups. Before now, acquisitions either for growth or over investor exit has been rare for African startups outside South Africa.

But in 2019, four M&A deals involving African startups have been completed. Notable amongst them has been Uber’s acquisition of Egyptian ride hailing company, Careem. Another is OneFi’s acquisition of Amplify, a Nigerian fintech.

This growing trend in the long run could instill more confidence for investors in Africa. The rising trend of M&A could make exits more frequent and more profitable for venture capitalists.

For now, we’re still watching to see how the trend shapes up.

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