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Knott-Craig Jnr buys MXit

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Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, former head of iBurst and son of former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig Snr, has purchased popular social messaging platform MXit through his start-up investment firm World of Avatar. The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

A screenshot of the MXit contact groups (image: MXit)

As part of the deal, MXit CEO Herman Heunis will step down, to be replaced by Knott-Craig, while Naspers, have also been bought out.

“Naspers, which also has stakes in Chinese IM TenCent and an indirect stake in Facebook, acquired a 30% interest in MXit in 2007. The new deal will see World of Avatar become 90 percent owners of the company while 10 percent will remain in a staff trust,” tech website Memeburn wrote.

But this isn’t World of Avatar’s first try in investing in internet start-ups. The company invested large sums of money into free SMS service FSMS, online organiser Toodu and online news site Daily Maverick.

“Creating and building MXit has been an enormously interesting journey for me, and I have had a lot of fun, but it is time to inject new and young energy into the company, and I believe that Alan and his team will do a superb job,” Heunis said about the acquisition.

Knott-Craig confirmed to Memeburn that he has been planning the acquisition for a while. “About seven months ago I got wind that MXit might be selling, so I called up Herman Heunis, we had a coffee and I said to him, ‘if you guys ever wanted to sell let me know’ and that’s how it began.”

According to the publication, “MXit is available in 128 countries. It is represented in international markets that include Malaysia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, where users have access to MXit’s chat function.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor


  1. MXit had last reported a doubling of the user base from 13 million in mid-2009 to 27 million in October 2010, signing up 40,000 new subscribers every day. President Obama is one of them. Naspers had held a 30% stake since 2007.

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