OLX, the once-popular classifieds business in Kenya that was forced to close shop early last year due to low volumes, has found a buyer. Jiji.ng, the largest classifieds marketplace in Nigeria, has reached an agreement to redirect OLX users in Nigeria to Jiji and to acquire OLX businesses in four other countries.

Jiji and OLX announced on April 10th that both companies have reached an agreement under which Jiji will acquire OLX businesses in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, pending regulatory approvals. All OLX users in these countries will be redirected to Jiji.

OLX users in these countries will be served by Jiji, giving the Nigerian company a footprint in the East African market’s of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. OLX closed shop in Kenya in February 2018, just after a drawn-out general election that went into a second round.

It said its decision to exit Kenya followed a 40% drop in online prime transactions. The classifieds platform dealt in cars, residential and commercial space as its premium category realtors. “Users will always come first for us,” Mr Anton Volyansky, CEO and co-founder of Jiji, said. “We look forward to our new customers joining Jiji on its journey to empower the lives of its customers by providing a safer, more secure and enjoyable online shopping experience”.

Yuliy Shenfeld, Jiji Nigeria’s country manager, said the acquisition is the next step to fulfill its quest to have Nigerians take their business online. So far, thanks to Jiji, more than 300,000 businesses have increased their sales and improved their family fortunes, he said.

[ Read: Politics or poor strategy? This is how OLX came down to its knees ]

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“In the wake of this transaction, the Jiji team of more than 500 people is excited to build a truly Pan-African classifieds empire with Nigeria being the epicentre,” said Mr Shenfeld.

SjoerdNikkelen, General Manager of OLX in Africa, Middle East and Asia, said they had built sustainable businesses we have built in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

“We continually evaluate our portfolio of classifieds businesses to ensure a disciplined approach to how and where we allocate capital and management time,” he said. “With our focus on accelerating the growth of other markets, now is an opportune time to sell our interests in these markets.”

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