Earlier this year, it was reported that Naspers, the media and internet holding company, was planning to sell off Allegro, its online auction business based in Poland, and today the deal finally came to pass. A consortium of private equity firms that includes Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa have bought the firm for $3.253 billion.
The deal was made after earlier reports pegged eBay, Alibaba and CVC as among those interested in buying Allegro.
Allegro was founded in 1999, and is one of the most popular online shopping destinations in Poland, touting over 20 million registered users. Its marketplace, much like eBay’s, allows both individuals and companies to sell to consumers. The company reports it sells 850,000 items per day, and employs 1,275 people across five offices in Poznań, Warszawa, Toruń, Wrocław and Kraków.
Though aimed at the Eastern European market, Allegro competes with local rivals, the Naspers-owned OLX.pl, as well as American firms like eBay and Amazon. Had either of the latter two acquired the site, it would have given them a foothold not only in Poland, but also in the wider Eastern European region.
Included in the deal for the Allegro Group, was another site the company runs called Ceneo.pl, a comparison shopping business.
The deal comes at a time when the Polish e-commerce market is growing. According to a Reuters report from this summer, the market is worth more than 32 billion zlotys ($8 billion) today and includes around 22,000 online shops. It’s expected the market will double in value by 2020 – growth than can be partially attributed to the Polish government’s plans not to levy online shopping in its new retail tax, Reuters noted.
The transaction is still subject to antitrust clearance, Naspers says.