October 14, 2016 / 3:09 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Naspers sells Polish Allegro unit for $3.25 billion

(Adds detail, Ceneo, share price move)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 14 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Naspers has sold its Polish e-commerce businesses Allegro and Ceneo to funds advised by private equity firms Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa for $3.253 billion, the company said on Friday, giving its shares a boost.

Naspers acquired online marketplace Allegro in 2008 for $1.5 billion as part of the transaction when it bought auction site Tradus, it said in a statement, adding that the business had generated cash of $714 million over the period.

The South African media and e-commerce firm, the largest company with a primary listing in Africa, said it had used Allegro to establish other fast-growing businesses in Poland, such as e-commerce site OLX and payment platform PayU.

Naspers has its roots in 101 years of Afrikaans language newspaper publishing, but has grown its e-commerce business rapidly in the last decade, with Tradus one of its first large foreign investments. The Cape Town-based company also holds around a third of Chinese Internet firm TenCent Holdings .

“From time to time the group exits earlier investments to realise a return on capital invested, and Allegro is a good example of this,” Naspers said.

Shares in Naspers was up 5.8 percent at 2320 rand by 1429 GMT, compared to a 1.7 percent gain by the JSE’s benchmark Top-40 index.

Naspers will keep Polish investments OLX, PayU, Otomoto and Otodom and said its PayU unit will continue to provide payment processing services to Allegro under a multi-year agreement.

Ceneo, which is sold along with Allegro, is a Polish price comparison business.

The South African firm said it will use the proceeds to repay debt, fund the scaling-up of ecommerce businesses, and finance new acquisitions.

“The transaction is subject to approval by anti-trust authorities with closing expected before the end of fiscal 2017,” Naspers said. (Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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