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Stack Overflow sold to tech investor Prosus for $1.8 billion


If you've ever gone looking for answers to software development questions, this screenshot probably looks quite familiar.
Enlarge / If you’ve ever gone looking for answers to software development questions, this screenshot probably looks quite familiar.

Jim Salter

Legendary programming Q&A site Stack Overflow is being acquired by Prosus N.V., Europe’s largest tech investment firm. According to a press release on Prosus’ website, the two companies entered into a definitive acquisition agreement yesterday.

According to Amazon Alexa web analytics, Stack Overflow is the 46th most heavily engaged site in the world. Since 2008, the site has served as the first stop for developers searching for answers to their programming-related questions—and eventually, their non-programming-related questions, as the Stack Exchange network of sites expanded into categories including culture, recreation, arts, science, business, and more.

Prosus will likely be much less familiar, particularly to Americans, as the Amsterdam-listed investment firm has a much lower public profile. Although based in Europe, Prosus invests internationally; for example, it has the largest single stake in Chinese gaming and social media company Tencent.

In 2001, Prosus’ parent company Naspers bought a 46.5% interest in Tencent for only $34 million— but earlier this year, Prosus liquidated a 2% Tencent stake for $14.6 billion, retaining a 28.9% interest valued at roughly $200 billion. Prosus chairman Koos Bekker said the Tencent liquidation will “fund continued growth in Prosus’ core business lines and emerging sectors” and create “some headroom for acquisitions.”

Stack Overflow co-founder Joel Spolsky blogged about the purchase, and Stack Overflow CEO Prasanth Chandrasekar wrote a more official announcement. Both blog posts characterize the acquisition as having little to no impact on the day-to-day operation of Stack Overflow.

“How you use our site and our products will not change in the coming weeks or months, just as our company’s goals and strategic priorities remain the same,” Chandrasekar said.

Spolsky went into more detail, saying that Stack Overflow will “continue to operate independently, with the exact same team in place that has been operating it, according to the exact same plan and the exact same business practices. Don’t expect to see major changes or awkward ‘synergies’… the entire company is staying in place: we just have different owners now.”



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