Transaction Capital has announced that it is planning to buy a non-controlling 49.9% stake in WeBuyCars for R1.8 billion.
Transaction Capital is an investor in and operator of alternative assets in credit-related and specialised market verticals.
The company said the purchase of this stake provides it with an exceptional opportunity to acquire a significant interest in a trader of used vehicles that serves its clients through its vertically integrated ecommerce and physical dealership infrastructure.
“Options are in place, which if exercised and implemented, after regulatory approval, would result in Transaction Capital increasing its interest in WeBuyCars at a future date,” Transactional Capital said.
“The transaction will immediately be value accretive, converting interest income on undeployed capital into operating earnings, and accelerating Transaction Capital’s earnings growth rate.”
It added that WeBuyCars will continue to operate as an independent business within its specialised market.
“It is worth noting that this investment is a vote of confidence – from the leaders of both Transaction Capital and WeBuyCars – in South Africa’s economic recovery and longer-term growth prospects,” Transaction Capital said.
“Both parties believe WeBuyCars can develop and grow into another exceptional business and reach its full potential notwithstanding the difficult economic conditions that will be with all of us for some time to come.”
Naspers deal prohibited
Last year, a proposed acquisition of WeBuyCars by Naspers was blocked by the Competition Commission on the grounds that it could stop a similar business from entering the market.
The proposed deal would have seen MIH eCommerce Holdings, an entity within the Naspers group, acquiring 60% of WeBuyCars.
MIH eCommerce is mainly an investment holding company and does not itself supply any products or services in South Africa. It has investments in OLX and the Naspers’ subsidiary, Car Trader, which operates as AutoTrader.
Although the commission found that the proposed transaction did not present any competitor overlap in South Africa, it was found that the Naspers Group had anticipated entering the South African market for the wholesale and online buying of used cars in competition with WeBuyCars.
“These entry plans were thwarted directly as a result of the merger,” the commission said.