World of Avatar (WOA) has just acquired 90% of the legendary South African mobile social network and chat application, MXit. According to Memeburn the deal is valued at a reputed R500m (USD 60.6m at today’s interbank rate) and also involves Craig Knott Jnr taking over as CEO of MXit.
Craig’s WOA is a venture capital company with a focus on media, mobile and web based platforms across Africa. This could very well be the largest mobile app deal on the continent and could result in a flurry of international players scouting for scalable start-ups and opportunities in a region that is often overlooked.
MXit was previously controlled by long time founder, Herman Heunis and the emerging markets giant; Naspers. It is also one of the few social networks to fend off the Facebook juggernaut as its 10million active users in South Africa dwarfed Facebook’s 4.3 million. With a mobile penetration of approximately 50%, the doors are wide open for mobile applications that cater to Africa’s growing consumers and other developing markets thereafter.
Naspers is Africa’s biggest media group with DSTV, Mweb, 24.com,Kalahari.com, and Nimbuzz falling under its stable. It is also a significant shareholder in China’s Tencent (the world’s 3rd biggest internet company), Mail.ru of Russia and Yuri Milner’s DST Global. Through DST Global the company is an indirect shareholder in Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga among others.