Prior to retiring as CEO, Bekker outran and outwitted the world’s old style media companies as they floundered with the online challenge and also outflanked dozens of aggressive private investors as he turned part of Naspers into a fast-moving finance house – epitomized by his decision to take all his compensation in the form of Naspers stock. That’s paid off – for both him and shareholders – as Naspers has gone about accumulating an enviable array of interests in Internet companies, usually in faster growing economies, that are off the radar screen of most of its global competitors. The result: Naspers is now the largest internet company outside the U.S. and China and holds stakes in online auction businesses, instant messaging services, mobile advertising networks, price comparison sites and e-commerce firms in countries such as Russia, Poland, Brazil, Nigeria and the UAE. Naspers has also taken its share of lumps, such as its failure with OpenTV.
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