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Cellbazaar formally turns to Ekhanei

B3-20140603-mahmudOpu-dt0090The country’s first online free classified ads website Cellbazaar.com has been officially retitled as Ekhanei.com yesterday.

The rebranding took place after the recent takeover of the company by new stakeholders and joining of Schibsted to the management along with Telenor Group.

Formal announcement was made at a function at a city hotel one week after the new site went into online.

Schibsted is a Norwegian media group while Telenor is a telecom company also based in Norway.

“We figured out that sales of advertised products depend on the location of its buyers and sellers, and therefore we have introduced a new website template to categorise products based on locations,” said the company’s CEO Arild Klokkerhaug.

“Though Cellbazaar was a very well-known to the customers, we wanted to adopt a Bangla name, that’s why we hace changed it to Ekhanei. Logo has also been changed.”

Cellbazaar was initially introduced as a value added service of Grameenphone, the country’s leading mobile phone operator, to enable its users sell or buy products through Internet.

In the recent years the service was turned into a separate entity and its assets in turn was given to SnT Classifieds on agreement, according to a press release of Telenor on September 30 last year.

The company SnT C, a new joint venture established by Telenor and Schibsted, currently owns Ekhanei in which Telenor and Schibsted will own 50% each.

However, Grameenphone’s financial statements of 2013 do not have any information on this regard while financial reports of 2012 shows external liabilities to Telenor Start II AS for Cellbazaar operations.

The item mentioned as “other external liabilities” amounted to a consolidated figure of Tk4.7 crore in 2012, which was not mentioned in the annual reports of 2013.

Analyst who covers Grameenphone stock analysis at a leading equity research firm could not explain the figures, as it is insignificant to the size of the business.

Value of Cellbazaar ownership during the time of being sold, remains in the dark as the CEO of Ekhanei.com could not shed light on this topic.

Telenor has bought 33.3% shares of the online marketplace company, 701 Search Pte and 50% stake of SnT Classifieds by paying 145m euro along with contributing its Bangladeshi asset Cellbazaar.

While Schibsted contributed its South American assets, Bomnegocio.com (Brazil) and Yapo.cl (Chile) into the joint venture.

The transactions imply an enterprise value of the company, 701 Search Pte of 180m euro, reports Reuters.

One-third of the enterprise value is 60m euro, for which Telenor Group has paid a sum of 145m euro, resulting in a profit of 16.66% of enterprise value or 30m euro for Schibsted, added the report.

701 Search Pteis a media company that specialises in search services via online and mobile platforms for the Asia Pacific region.

The company owned equally by Telenor, Schibsted and Singapore Press Holdings operates Mudah.my (Malaysia), Berniaga.com (Indonesia), Ayosdito.ph (The Philippines) and Chotot.vn (Vietnam).

Ranking of the previous site, Cellbazaar.com was ranked among the countries 40th most visited site by Alexa site rating company, while the newly launched domain of ekhanei.com currently stands 219th on the list.

Report: Tahmidur Rahman
Source: Dhaka Tribune

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