A couple of months ago, we got wind that there was some kind of partnership deal going on between Zimbabwe’s largest classifieds classifieds.co.zw and what is now Africa’s largest classifieds group, One Africa Media. We reached out to Webdev and we were told there wasn’t much of a deal yet. Enough to mean changes in ownership at least.
This week however, the guys over at TechMoran mentioned in an article that OAM last year “acquired part of BuyRentKenya and a general classifieds in Zimbabwe“. We checked again with Webdev and this time the company tells they are close to selling a stake in their company to One Africa Media but that the deal hasn’t been concluded yet.
If it goes through, the deal will likely make Webdev much stronger as a marketplace player in the country both in terms of cashflow from the parent company, as well as the cross pollination of experience running property, cars, jobs, and travel marketplaces.
In the statement, Webdev hints that they’ll be in charge of expanding OAM’s footprint into neighbouring countries which could mean the English speaking countries Botswana, Namibia Malawi and Zambia. This could mean Webdev will be in charge of OAM in Southern Africa bar South Africa.
In Zimbabwe, and indeed the region, Webdev and OAM increasingly face competition from Rocket Internet companies like Carmudi, Lamudi and Jovago, as well as competition from the Naspers owned properties.
Here’s a full statement we received from Webdev’s Sales and Operations director, Vusi Ndebele:
We acknowledge the media reports circulating which imply that Webdev was acquired by One Africa Media (OAM) Group in 2014. The report we’ve seen is quite high-level with its focus on recent OAM Group activity and only a passing mention of Zimbabwe so the following will provide a bit more context.
We can confirm that we are very close to concluding an agreement which will result in OAM Group holding an equity stake in a Webdev and its associated online businesses.
We are very excited about the prospect of joining forces with Africa’s undisputed market leader in the key Classifieds segments (Cars, Jobs, Property). We admire the energy, focus and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by the OAM group companies.
The OAM investment brings to us a wealth of knowledge gained through their successful execution in diverse African markets, in addition to the financial backing and technology.
Webdev brings to OAM experience in the general classifieds (horizontal) space which is particularly relevant in smaller African markets.
Webdev has also made a strategic investment in the growth of e-commerce in Zimbabwe through an Online Payment Gateway, Paynow which creates additional opportunity locally.
We remain the local Classifieds market leader so our mission is to grow the market while maintaining that position. We look forward to the challenge in Zimbabwe and the neighbouring countries which the Webdev team will be responsible for under the agreement with OAM.
We will release further information once the agreement has been concluded.