The acquisition means that for the first time in 18 years, Gumtree South Africa will be in the hands of South African owners, after being previously owned by American multinational e-commerce company eBay and then Adevinta.
Acquiring firm Impresa Capital is the majority shareholder of the Ignition Group of companies based in Durban, founded in 2002 by brothers Sean and Donovan Bergsma.
“As a proudly African-rooted business, this acquisition cements our strategy of investments in the technology and media sectors and provides our portfolio of businesses with a solid platform for growth. We plan to enable Gumtree customers to experience new ways of buying and selling through partnerships with the Ignition ecosystem of services,” says Sean Bergsma, cofounder and CEO of Ignition Group.
He sees the Gumtree acquisition as the ideal ‘next step’ to taking the business in new and exciting directions for the future and opening up a wealth of opportunities for Gumtree users through the platform. “The accelerated growth of Gumtree on the African continent will see new jobs being created, and with the technology developed further using local South African talent, it means exciting times ahead for all stakeholders.”
Gumtree SA was launched in 2004 as an online classifieds platform that allows millions of users and customers to buy and sell second-hand goods daily. It remains one of the country’s top visited websites.
Claire Cobbledick, general manager of Gumtree SA, comments that as a community-based marketplace, local expertise and knowledge presents a strategic advantage. “And so being acquired by a South African investor is an important and exciting next step for the Gumtree SA business. We look forward to unlocking synergies within the Ignition Group businesses and network,” says Cobbledick.
The acquisition is still subject to final regulatory approvals.