Rocket’s €5bn float plan joins e-commerce listings rush

Rocket seeks to raise €750m via new share issue

 Alibaba’s HQ in Hangzhou: , the Chinese e-commerce company  said its expects to price its initial public offering at between $60 and $66 per American Depository share. Photograph: Reuters/Chance Chan

Alibaba’s HQ in Hangzhou: , the Chinese e-commerce company said its expects to price its initial public offering at between $60 and $66 per American Depository share. Photograph: Reuters/Chance Chan

 

German venture capital firm Rocket Internet has unveiled plans for a stock market listing that could value the company at $6.5 billion (€5bn).

Rocket’s announcement yesterday of plans to raise about €750 million by selling new shares pits it against Europe’s biggest online fashion firm Zalando and China’s Alibaba in the quest for investors this month.

Alibaba’s initial public offering is expected to cap the flurry as the biggest technology flotation ever, surpassing Facebook’s $16 billion listing in 2012, while Zalando’s share sale would value it at about $5.8 billion.

Berlin-based Rocket said in a statement its offer would consist solely of new shares, and it would use the proceeds to fund growth by launching new businesses and providing more capital to its existing companies.

A source with knowledge of the plans said Rocket planned to list a stake of about 15 per cent, giving the group a total value of some €5 billion.

Rocket Internet wants to replicate the success of Amazon. com and Alibaba in markets the US and Chinese e-commerce groups have yet to dominate such as Africa, Latin America, Russia and other parts of Asia.

Founded in 2007 by brothers Oliver, Alexander and Marc Samwer, Rocket is active in more than 100 countries, with sales of $1 billion in 2013 via e-commerce and online marketplaces for everything from taxis to meal deliveries.

Oliver Samwer, chief executive, said: “Ultimately we are a very unique story...We believe investors will value the exposure that they can get through us to those fastest growing markets.”

The Samwer brothers own 52.3 per cent of existing Rocket stock and hold 17 per cent of Zalando, a company Rocket helped to launch.

The Rocket businesses have succeeded in attracting a raft of high-profile investors, most recently securing €768 million from German service provider United Internet and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.

The Rocket flotation would be the biggest in Europe since Russia’s Yandex in 2011. – (Reuters)

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