It is official; Jiji has signed merger deal with African car sales platform, Cars45.
Jiji, the largest online marketplace in Africa belongs to Ukrainian IT company Genesis. However, the financial details of the deal were not made public.
Jiji, supported by Lemma. Group, and Cars45 on Tuesday announced that both companies had reached an agreement, under which they will merge their operations in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.
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The merger of Cars45, with its transactional business model, is part of Jiji’s long-term strategy toward transactional marketplaces, according to the Investor Relations Manager, Jiji, Maxim Makarchuk.
Speaking during a press conference in Lagos where the merger was officially announced in Nigeria, Makarchuk, affirmed that the deal will further strengthen Jiji’s position in all the countries where both companies operate and help mitigate some customers’ safety concerns by improving their car-buying and selling.
With this deal, Jiji will now venture into the transactional marketplace for the first time.
Jiji was launched in Nigeria in 2014 as an online marketplace that provides buyers and sellers with an avenue to meet and exchange goods and services.
Cars45 on the other hand is a transactional marketplace for car buyers and sellers. The company was founded by former Konga executive Etop Ikpe and has been under different ownership over the last couple of years.
Cars45 first received $5 million in funding in 2017 from the Frontier Cars Group (A company that subsequently became the parent company of Cars45), with support from Balderton Capital, EchoVC, and TPG Growth.
Soon after, Netherlands-based OLX Group acquired Cars45 from FCG, via its OLX Autos brand.
Although Jiji didn’t disclose the details of the acquisition of Cars45, it feels like a total acquisition from the OLX group.
This, however, is not Jiji’s first acquisition. Back in 2019, Naspers-owned online marketplace, OLX, sold its assets in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to Nigeria’s biggest classifieds player.
Jiji with 5 million+ app installs in Nigeria alone now operates in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania, with over 400 employees.
The site contains over 4 million active listings worth more than $10 billion, with 300,000+ sellers trading.
The car category is the second most popular, with more than 300,000 active listings.
In May 2021, Jiji became the first major profitable e-commerce company in the region.
Jiji is also regarded as the No. 1 brand in the target market.
Commenting on the value propositions of marriage between the two companies, Makarchuk, said: “Jiji has seen value in Cars45 as Nigeria’s largest technology enabled automotive trading platform. So, this will give Jiji that leverage in the market whereas Jiji’s massive database with 4million+ active listings and 300,000+ sellers trading will boost Cars45’s operations.
Nodding in agreement, the CEO, Cars45, Soumobroto Ganguly, stated that a platform that leverages technology to provide end-to-end digitized customer journey for automotive transactions for corporate organisations and individuals, the merger will make it even easier to facilitate automotive trading for Nigerians and other markets where they operate as well as access to finance, insurance, maintenance and servicing and other value-added services.
He said, “We are proud to have built a trusted buying and selling experience in autos. It makes sense to combine online and offline expertise. Merging with Jiji is aimed at creating a new kind of automotive retail experience for users in Africa. We are confident of jointly building an African Champion in the O2O Automotive Sector. Together we look forward to making transactions transparent and convenient for our customers, dealers, and franchisees across all our current and future markets.
Commenting on plans for rebranding, Ganguly said, “There are different teams working on different aspects of the business. And it is left for the Board to decide on the processes. Presently, the brand status quos shall be maintained, but we are looking that towards the end of the year; there could be information on rebranding Cars45”.
In a nutshell, Maxim, Soumobroto and other speakers at the press conference expressed optimisms that the marriage between Jiji and Cars45 will benefit the customers/clients and the African markets at large.
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