Rocket Internet Ups Stake In Foodpanda And Delivery Hero As ‘Global Online Takeaway Group’ Gets Fatter

Rocket Internet, the publicly-listed German ‘startup factory’ and e-commerce behemoth, has once again increased its stake in Delivery Hero, the online take-out delivery service that competes with its own Foodpanda, along with recently IPOed Just Eat.

Rocket Internet is also announcing an increased investment and (now majority) stake in Foodpanda itself, with both moves part of a strategy to build out its Global Online Takeaway Group, a roll up of all its food delivery companies.

What the e-commerce giant plans to do with Global Online Takeaway Group, however, it isn’t saying. Off the back of Just Eat’s IPO, might the plan to be to float Global Online Takeaway Group publicly in its own right? That seems a more obvious exit than being acquired, given that there aren’t many companies that could afford to buy a company the size of the one Rocket Internet is rapidly building.

“We generally do not comment on any rumours,” a Rocket Internet spokesperson told me when asked about that possibility.

As helpful as ever, Rocket Internet later told TechCrunch that “the strategy is to seize market opportunities and to continue building the largest and the only truly global online takeaway marketplace in the world by organic growth and selective investments.”

Specifically, Rocket Internet has increased its stake in Delivery Hero to circa 39 per cent. This comes via the contribution of Middle Eastern online food takeaway company Talabat and the acquisition of (secondary) shares from existing Delivery Hero investors for a price of €52 million.

Of note, it was only last month that Rocket Internet increased its stake in Delivery Hero to 30 percent, at a cost of €496 million. Therefore, it’s not inconceivable that the company might be on a trajectory to majority ownership of its former rival.

“Delivery Hero with its 24 countries and 62.6 million annualized orders (based on December 2014) is a key component of the Global Online Takeaway Group, complementing foodpanda and the two recent investments in La Nevera Roja (Spain) and Pizzabo (Italy),” said Rocket Internet in a statement.

Investors in Delivery Hero include Insight Venture Partners, Kite Ventures, Team Europe, ru-Net, Tengelmann Ventures, Point Nine Capital, Phenomen Ventures and Vostok Nafta.

Furthermore, Rocket Internet is announcing that Foodpanda has raised a new €104 million funding round from new and existing investors. Rocket itself is investing an additional €37 million in the online take-out delivery company, and is purchasing shares from existing shareholders and shares formerly held through Latam Internet Group through via a share dividend. In other words, a mixture of primary and secondary investment.

Regardless of the mechanism, however, it increases Rocket Internet’s direct stake in Foodpanda to a controlling interest of around 52 per cent, up from 50.

Lastly, Rocket Internet says it intends to contribute its 11.4 per cent stake in Yemeksepeti, the online takeaway market leader in Turkey, to the Global Online Takeaway Group. Yemeksepeti is present in 63 cities in Turkey and works with nearly 10,000 restaurants.

To sum: Rocket Internet’s Global Online Takeaway Group just got a lot fatter.