RealTime IT News

South Africa's Primedia, Datatec Form E-Commerce Unit

Primedia Ltd. formed a joint venture with Datatec Ltd., a computer network company, to sell goods and services electronically to broaden its revenue base. Both companies are based in South Africa.

The new company, to be called Metropolis Transactive Holdings Ltd., will start with five established businesses of Primedia: Mead & McGrouther, a reference book for the auto industry, the South African Property Transfer Guide, Primedia Online, iafrica.com and Spatial Decisions, a database company, according to Bloomberg News.

Metropolis will give Primedia access to South Africa's business-to-business Internet commerce industry, which is expected to grow to about $6.2 billion by 2002, according to BMI Tech-Knowledge, a Johannesburg-based research company.

The partners expect to sell Metropolis shares on the Johannesburg stock exchange before the end of the year. After the sale Primedia will own 50%, and Datatec, the No. 3 company on the Johannesburg Electronics and Electrical Index, will own 30%. The remainder of the shares will be held by management and the public.

The Metropolis transaction is the second Internet commerce joint venture announced by Datatec in three months. In August, it agreed to acquire a stake in Wooltru Ltd. for a stake in Affinity Logic, which Wooltru uses to sell its goods electronically.

Primedia, which controls about 60% of South Africa's movie industry through its Ster-Kinekor cinema chain, has been expanding its direct marketing, specialized publishing and interactive media businesses, Bloomberg said. Now it's focusing on business-to-business Internet commerce.