IROKO, a Nigerian-based video-on-demand (VoD) company, may list on London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) Alternative Investment Market within the next 12 months.
The company aims to raise between $20 million (R294 million) and $30 million (R441 million) and would value the whole business at between $80 million and $100 million (R1.4 billion).
Speaking from Accra to The Africa Report, IROKO’s co-founder and CEO, Jason Njoku said discussions with brokers would start in the coming weeks.
Njoku, who holds an 18% stake in the debt-free company, founded the business with Bastian Gotter in 2011.
IROKO has the world’s most extensive online catalogue of Nollywood films.
IROKO, which sold ROK, its African film studio and international TV network, to CANAL+ Group last year and targeted an initial public offering sometime last year. In 2020, it was hit hard by the economic fallout from the crisis after initially seeing positive signs.
Last May, IROKO placed 28% of its staff in Nigeria on unpaid leave after being hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic.
In August 2020 in his Just Me. Jason Njoku blog, he wrote that the company still believe in Nigeria, Ghana, and the rest of Africa.
“It’s a strange thing to realise that even after almost 9 years with IROKOtv, 5 exclusively focused in Africa, we still may be too early for Africa. That in itself says so much about the current Internet opportunity in Africa,” he explained.
“Many models have attempted to crack the consumer economy in Africa. Classifieds didn’t work. Lead generation didn’t work. E-commerce didn’t work. Free didn’t work. If we only had the Africa market (like so many before us who failed) then this post would be RIP IROKOtv.
“Thankfully we have an international business to fall back upon.”
He said for Africa, IROKO is currently compelled in the short term to find a more efficient model to growing its paid membership.
“We are introducing new products which we hope to move us up the ARPU chain and broaden our services beyond just entertainment,” he said.
“It’s still super early and we are veterans of experimental building of consumer Internet in Africa. For now we can only focus on cash flow. We will be waiting patiently, keenly, for the key signals to jump right back in to growth mode. We are still on the ground.”
Njoku has redefined the company’s strategy to target diasporia markets in Europe and North America, rather than growth in its main West Africa markets of Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.