Naspers chairman Koos Bekker sold nearly 11,7m Naspers N shares recently, reducing his interest in the international media giant by more than 70%.
Bekker retired as the CEO of Naspers in March last year, and took the reins as chairman from Ton Vosloo in April this year.
During his tenure as CEO, Naspers underwent a full transformation, growing from a very South African and print-focused media company with a market cap of R5,6bn to an international media goliath valued at more than R700bn.
Bekker benefitted immensely from this growth as he was paid via a share option scheme rather than a cash remuneration package. He never took a salary, having opted for this scheme from the start of his tenure as CEO in 1997. This remuneration structure saw him become one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs the country has ever produced.
Forbes recently measured his wealth at US$2,2bn, which made him the fourth richest person in South Africa.
The 2015 annual report shows that on 31 March 2015, Bekker held 4 688 691 indirect beneficial shares. In the 2014 annual report, Bekker’s interest in Naspers N shares totalled 16 376 499 shares, of which 11 687 808 shares were held in a direct beneficial and 4 688 691 in an indirect beneficial capacity.
This means that Bekker sold the 11 687 808 shares between April last year and March this year.
Naspers spokesman Meloy Horn confirmed the sale and said the options vested over a period of five years. “After Bekker retired as CEO last year, he exercised the options and sold the shares. The net return was the difference in the selling price and the strike price of the options, after he paid the full marginal tax rate on the profits.”
Horn said Naspers complied with all regulations relating to the disclosure of the sale of shares.
Horn was not able to provide specific detail on what prices were realised on the sale of the shares and referred Moneyweb to Bekker directly. On Wednesday Moneyweb e-mailed questions to Bekker, but has not yet received a response. Such a response will be published when it is received.
According to the 2014 annual report, the 11 687 808 options were allotted at a combined strike price of just over R2bn. Bekker sold the shares in a period where the Naspers price fluctuated between R992 and R1 870/share, meaning that he sold the shares for anything between R11,5bn and R21,8bn.
Horn added that Bekker still owns 4,7m indirect beneficial shares, which are held in a trust. “This still makes him a top 15 shareholder in the group,” she said.
This is not the first time Bekker has sold Naspers shares he earned through the share option scheme. He also sold 3 354 420 shares between April 2007 and March 2008, the year he resigned from the Naspers board to take a sabbatical.
- This article was first published on Moneyweb and is republished here with permission