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.

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