Naspers Buys ‘Controlling Interest’ In Social Networing Site

Naspers, the South African media company which owns stakes in a number of digital properties, including Facebook-backer Digital Sky Technologies, has bought a “controlling interest” in social site Multiply. Multiply, which was founded in 2004, was initially positioned as a “mature” alternative to MySpace (NSDQ: NWS), providing users with more control over what information they wanted to share.

When I talked to founder Peter Pezaris in 2006, he presciently told me that “MySpace is a super cool place to hang out if you’re a teenager because that’s where everybody goes, but how long do hot nightclubs stay hot?'” Multiply has since branched out into social shopping, setting up an online marketplace, which gets about 20 million monthly visitors a month, primarily in Southeast Asia.

The company had raised at least $27.8 million in funding, from investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners, Point Judith Capital and Japanese venture and marketing firm Transcosmos. ABS-CBN, one of the largest media companies in the Phillipines, purchased a five percent stake in the company two years ago for $5 million.

Naspers isn’t disclosing how much it is paying for its stake. This is the company’s second high-profile transaction over the last month; in late August, it made a major investment in classifieds site OLX.