Dutch investor buys Stack Overflow for $1.8 billion

Posted on Thursday, Jun 03 2021 @ 10:52 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
The biggest and perhaps most unexpected IT news of the day concerns that Stack Overflow just got sold for a whopping $1.8 billion. Dutch Internet conglomerate Prosus announced Wednesday that it's acquiring the popular knowledge-sharing platform to scale it to the next level.

Parent company Naspers is the largest shareholder of Prosus, with a controlling interest of 57 percent. Naspers made most of its money thanks to a lucky investment in Chinese Internet giant Tencent -- way back in 2001. Prosus is the owner of various online services, including Codecademy and Udemy, and has large shareholdings in various services including Takealot.com, PayU, Mail.ru, and others.

According to today's announcement, little will change for Stack Overflow users. Stack Overflow founder Joel Spolsky claims users should not expect to see major changes or awkward "synergies". Spolsky elaborates that Stack Overflow will be operated as an independent company, and that the firm now has plenty of cash to expand and deliver more features and fix the old broken ones.

Stack Overflow has over 100 million users a month and is one of the 50 most popular websites. It's mainly used as a place to ask help from fellow programmers, when users need help for a school, hobby, or professional project.

Comical intermezzo
Prosus N.V. ("Prosus"), a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Stack Overflow, a leading knowledge-sharing platform for the global community of developers and technologists, for approximately US$1.8 billion.

Stack Overflow, one of the 50 most popular websites in the world, has built a global company and highly engaged developer and technologist community over the last 13+ years, now serving more than 100 million people across the world every month. Founded in 2008 as an open community-based question and answer website for the developer community, the company has expanded to include Stack Overflow for Teams, a leading knowledge management and collaboration solution that thousands of the top enterprises around the world trust. Stack Overflow for Teams and their extensive community content have become a necessity to enterprises, having a meaningful impact on their product and technology development.

Stack Overflow has deep engagement within its community and is an invaluable tool for tech-focused collaboration and learning. Over 85% of its learning-focused community visit the platform every week to access more than 52 million questions and answers. There is a new question asked on Stack Overflow every 14 seconds, and developers and technologists visiting the platform have been helped 50+ billion times since its inception.

With expertise in scaling communities in high-growth markets globally, Prosus can help accelerate Stack Overflow’s growth ambitions, with a particular focus on reaching a wider international community, while also further scaling the company’s Teams product to position Stack Overflow at the center of product and technology development within major enterprises globally.

Prosus has built a significant presence on the enterprise side with a focus on the future of workplace learning. Prosus will reach 90% of the Fortune 100 across its corporate learning companies including Stack Overflow, Skillsoft, Udemy and Codecademy.

Larry Illg, CEO of EdTech at Prosus, said, “We are delighted to be welcoming Stack Overflow to the Prosus family as we increasingly focus on the future of workplace learning. Learning of any kind typically begins with a question and their platform is critically important for global developers when they have questions about their work. There is an opportunity to connect more deeply with their community through our other education platforms to further fulfill their learning needs.”

Illg continued, “With enduring skills shortages and ever-evolving needs within technology organizations, technology training has emerged as the largest and fastest growing segment of corporate learning and development. As an operator of businesses across 90+ countries, we understand the needs of technologists and developers, particularly in high-growth markets. In addition to further scaling its community in the markets we know well, we want to help Stack Overflow Teams to expand within enterprises to address an underserved opportunity to transform their technology learning and collaboration.”

Stack Overflow’s CEO, Prashanth Chandrasekar, said, “We are excited to be joining the Prosus family, which catapults us into a new phase of growth and allows us to expand and accelerate Stack Overflow’s impact around the world. Prosus’s expertise growing and nurturing communities, especially in a global context, will make our public platform even more invaluable in helping developers and technologists learn and grow. Given Prosus’s focus on the future of the workplace, their partnership will allow our market leading SaaS collaboration product, Stack Overflow for Teams, to reach thousands more global enterprises, allowing them to accelerate product innovation and increase productivity by unlocking institutional knowledge.”

The transaction is expected to close by Q3 of 2021 and is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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