After much speculation, German super-incubator and clone factory Rocket Internet has confirmed that it plans to launch an initial public offering later this year on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Rocket Internet intends to raise up to $970 million in the IPO and plans to use the proceeds to “finance its future growth through the launch of new businesses and [provide] further equity capital to its network of companies.”
All of Rocket Internet’s existing shareholders, including Global Founders (the investment vehicle of Rocket Internet’s founder and CEO Oliver Samwer and his brothers), Investment AB Kinnevik, Access Industries, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, United Internet, and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, will continue to remain invested in the company and not sell any shares as part of the offering, which will consist only of new shares.
Signs that Rocket Internet’s IPO was forthcoming include the recent consolidation of five of the fashion brands it has established in emerging markets, creating a single entity worth $3.5 billion called Global Fashion Group. The merged companies were Dafiti (Latin America), Jabong (India), Lamoda (Russia and CIS), Namshi (Middle East), and Zalora (Southeast Asia and Australia). Once the deal closes, the three largest shareholders in GFG will be Kinnevik (25.1 percent), Rocket (23.5 percent), and Access Industries (7.4 percent).
In addition, Zalando, a Zappos clone that spun off from Rocket Internet a year ago, also announced that it plans to go public earlier this month.
In August, Rocket Internet not only got its latest shareholder when Philippine telco PLDT invested $445 million to collaborate with Rocket on payments and e-commerce ventures in emerging markets, but it also got investment from United Internet that values Rocket Internet at $5.3 billion. Then long-time Rocket investors Holtzbrinck consolidated its own shareholdings across Rocket Internet’s portfolio in exchange for a 2.5 percent stake in Rocket Internet.