Die Nasionale Pers (The National Press) was founded on 12 May 1915 with the aim of furthering the cause of the Afrikaner people. At first it only published a newspaper, Die Burger, but soon expanded and in 1916 published its first magazine Die Huisgenoot. D. F. Malan, a former minister in the conservative Dutch Reformed Church was persuaded to become editor and was the main supporter of Hertzog's National Party. In 1918 the company took a further step towards expansion when its book publishing operations were founded as Die Burger Boekhandel. Piet Cillié, editor of Die Burger from 1954 until 1985 was a staunch supporter of the National Party, under B J Vorster and P W Botha . Cillie' upheld the apartheid system through many pro-segregation editorials until the very end.
In 1985, Nasionale Pers and a number of other South African media companies formed an electronic pay-television media business, M-Net, which was listed on the JSE Securities Exchange (JSE) in 1990. In 1993, M-Net was divided into two companies - M-Net itself became a pure pay-television station while the company's subscriber management, signal distribution and cellular telephone activities were formed into a new company called MultiChoice Limited (later renamed MIH Holdings Limited).
Nasionale Pers itself listed on JSE on 12 September 1994 and in 1998 the group's name changed to Naspers.
In 1997, MIH Ltd. created an internet service provider, M-Web Holdings, which also runs M-Web Blogspace, a popular South African blogging platform.
In January 2000, Naspers merged its existing private education activities with that of another leading South African private education business to form Educor Holdings Limited - one of the leading private education providers in South Africa. During the same year, Naspers also re-organised and branded its print media business as its "Media24" division.
In May 2001, Naspers acquired a 46.5% interest in Tencent Holdings Limited, the operator of an instant messaging platform in China called QQ, which subsequently developed into the leading business of its kind in China. In a quest to further expand its business in China, the company acquired a 9.9% interest in the Beijing Media Corporation (“BMC”) in December 2004. BMC is a media company mainly engaged in the sale of advertising space for the Beijing Youth Daily as well as the production of newspapers and the trading of print-related materials.
In February 2005, Naspers acquired the South African internet interests of Tiscali. On 31 March of the same year, Naspers consolidated all its print media, book publishing and private education assets in its Media24 division in order to simplify the group's structure.
In May 2006, Naspers acquired, for US$ 422 million, a 30% interest in the Brazilian media group Editora Abril, publishers of dozens of titles, the most important of which being Revista Veja.
In January 2007, Naspers acquired a 30% interest in MXit Lifestyle, the operator of a mobile instant messaging platform in South-Africa called MXit.
Also in January 2007, Naspers acquired a 30% interest in Mail.ru, Russian operator of Mail.ru Agent, an instant messaging service for desktop PCs and mobiles. In November 2007 the company acquired a further 2.6% of Mail.ru .
In October 2007, Naspers acquired Gadu-Gadu, a listed Polish instant messaging business with c.8 million registered accounts (of a population of 38 million).
In March 2008, Naspers acquired Tradus (formerly QXL and listed on the London Stock Exchange), which provides an online auction platform and internet portals in Eastern Europe. The company owns Allegro.pl, which is the leading online auction site in Poland. At £946 million, this acquisition represents Naspers' largest acquisition to date.
In August 2008, Naspers acquired a 25% stake in BuzzCity through MIH, its investment arm. BuzzCity is a mobile media company providing access to a global advertising network on the mobile internet for brand owners and agencies. The network is made up of publishers worldwide and BuzzCity’s own mobile media properties, including the myGamma social networking platform which is aimed at regions with low fixed-line internet penetration.
In September 2008, Naspers acquired a 49% interest in Compera nTime, mobile value-added services company in Brazil. During 2010 Compera nTime acquired a competitor Yavox. The enlarged group has been renamed Movile. Having Brazil as its core market, Movile is also present in Mexico, and is expanding to other Latin-American countries..
In August 2009, it was announced that Naspers would increase its stake in BuzzCity by MIH purchasing US$1 million of shares from Exploit Technologies, the marketing and commercialisation arm of A*STAR.
In September 2009, Naspers acquired a 91% interest in BuscaPé, provider of comparison shopping systems for more than 100 portals and Web sites in Latin America, including Microsoft, Globo and Abril.