Montabaur, August 15, 2014. United Internet AG (“United Internet”) is investing – via its subsidiary United Internet Ventures AG – a total of EUR 435 million for a 10.7% stake in the incubator Rocket Internet AG, Berlin (“Rocket”). The investment will cement the long term strategic relationship between United Internet and Oliver Samwer, Rocket’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder.
United Internet’s investment consists of EUR 333 million in cash, and EUR 102 million represented by United Internet’s equity participation in the portfolio of the Global Founders Capital funds (“Global Founders Capital”).
Global Founders Capital is a portfolio of over 50 venture capital investments held jointly by United Internet and Global Founders Fund GmbH (“Global Founders Fund”, formerly European Founders Fund GmbH), the personal investment vehicle of Oliver Samwer and his brothers. The portfolio includes minority stakes in companies such as games maker Goodgame Studios; online travel sites such as Traveloka and Travelbird; online marketplaces Yemek Sepeti and DaWanda; and financial technology companies Kreditech, Borro and SocietyOne.
United Internet has been successfully investing in consumer Internet and technology businesses together with the Samwer brothers through Global Founders Capital since 2007.
United Internet’s investment will be in newly issued shares by Rocket, of the same class and bearing the same rights as shares held by current Rocket investors. Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of United Internet, will become a member of Rocket’s nine-person Supervisory Board.
Rocket Internet identifies and builds proven internet business models and transfers them to new, underserved or untapped markets where it seeks to scale them into market leading online companies. It aims to become the world’s largest Internet platform outside of China and the United States. Rocket is focused on online business models that satisfy basic consumer needs across three sectors: e-Commerce, marketplaces and financial technology.
Rocket started in 2007 and now has more than 20,000 employees across its network of companies, which operate in more than 100 countries on five continents. The company’s target markets are located mainly in the emerging markets of Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as well as in Russia. These markets are generally characterized by fast-growing smartphone penetration, younger populations then developed markets, newly evolving middle classes, and limited access to physical retail infrastructure.
Following this investment, in addition to United Internet (10.7%), shares in Rocket Internet will be held by Investment AB Kinnevik (18.5%), Access Industries (8.5%), Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (8.6%) and the Global Founders Fund (53.7%).
By contributing its shares in the investment funds to Rocket Internet, United Internet will recognize one-off, non-cash income of around EUR 70 million this year.
About United Internet
With 13.87 million fee-based customer contracts and 31.44 million ad-financed free accounts, United Internet AG is Europe’s leading internet specialist. At the heart of United Internet is a high-performance “Internet Factory” with 6,700 employees, of which around 2,000 are engaged in product management, development and data centers. In addition to the high sales strength of its established brands (1&1, GMX, WEB.DE, united-domains, Fasthosts, Arsys, InterNetX, Sedo and affilinet), United Internet stands for outstanding operational excellence with around 45 million customer accounts worldwide.
[via Press Release]
Disclaimer: DNN’s managing editor, Frank Michlick, provides consulting services through his company DomainCocoon for Sedo, which is a subsidiary of United Internet