Prosus swoops on Stack Overflow in R24bn deal

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Prosus CEO Bob van Dijk.
Prosus CEO Bob van Dijk.

Global technology investor Prosus has bagged Stack Overflow in a R24 billion deal.

The company announced yesterday it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the knowledge-sharing platform for developers and technologists, globally.

Prosus says it was attracted to Stack Overflow, the New York headquartered company founded in 2008, because it has deep engagement within its community and is an invaluable tool for tech-focused collaboration and learning.

It notes that over 85% of the Stack Overflow learning-focused community visit the platform every week to access more than 52 million questions and answers, adding there is a new question asked on Stack Overflow every 14 seconds, and developers and technologists visiting the platform have been helped over 50 billion times since its inception.

Prosus, a spin-off from Naspers, has been eyeing the burgeoning global education technology (edtech) business for some time, backed by solid investments in the sector.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Stack Overflow to the Prosus family as we increasingly focus on the future of workplace learning,” comments Larry Illg, CEO of edtech at Prosus.

“Learning of any kind typically begins with a question, and their platform is critically important for global developers when they have questions about their work. There is an opportunity to connect more deeply with their community through our other education platforms to further fulfil their learning needs.

“With enduring skills shortages and ever-evolving needs within technology organisations, technology training has emerged as the largest and fastest-growing segment of corporate learning and development. As an operator of businesses across 90+ countries, we understand the needs of technologists and developers, particularly in high-growth markets.

“In addition to further scaling its community in the markets we know well, we want to help Stack Overflow Teams to expand within enterprises to address an underserved opportunity to transform their technology learning and collaboration.”

Stack Overflow CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar says: “We are excited to be joining the Prosus family, which catapults us into a new phase of growth and allows us to expand and accelerate Stack Overflow’s impact around the world.

“Prosus’s expertise growing and nurturing communities, especially in a global context, will make our public platform even more invaluable in helping developers and technologists learn and grow.

“Given Prosus’s focus on the future of the workplace, their partnership will allow our market-leading SaaS collaboration product, Stack Overflow for Teams, to reach thousands more global enterprises, allowing them to accelerate product innovation and increase productivity by unlocking institutional knowledge.”

Edtech remains a key focus for Naspers and the group has been gunning for a bigger global market share in educational technology, saying it has a gripping business case and potential for the sector is compounded by the way populations in Africa and Asia place a premium on education.

Naspers has made a series of edtech-focused investments in the past 18 months, including spending a combined R1 billion on Brainly and Udemy.

In its full-year financial results for the 12 months ended 31 March 2020, Naspers increased its exposure to the edtech business by investing a further R432 million and R760 million in Brainly and Udemy, respectively.

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