August 07, 2014

Rocket said to get $400 million investment from PLDT

PHILIPPINE Long Distance Telephone Co. (TEL) is planning to invest about 300 million euros ($400 million) in Rocket Internet GmbH as the German company prepares for an initial public offering, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

An announcement could come as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. Makati City-based PLDT and Rocket -- an investor in online startups -- plan to begin a partnership to help develop e-commerce and mobile-payment systems that can be exported to other emerging markets, one person said.

Rocket plans to sell shares in the coming months and could seek a valuation of as much as 5 billion euros, two of the people said. Asian investors including Temasek Holdings Pte have bought stakes in European companies in advance of their IPOs, which raised about $58 billion in the first half, the most since 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A spokesman for Rocket declined to comment. PLDT spokesman Ramon Isberto declined to comment.

Shares of the Philippine carrier slid 2.1 percent to 3,084 pesos in Manila today.

Rocket Internet, founded in 2007 and led by online entrepreneur Oliver Samwer, is seeking funds from the IPO to expand in markets outside China and the U.S., people familiar with the plan have said. The Berlin-based company copies successful business models, often out of the U.S., and brings them to untapped markets.

The company, whose startups operate in more than 100 countries, has investments including Russian Web retailer Lamoda, Latin American fashion portal Dafiti and home-decor and furnishings vendor Westwing.

Samwer and his two brothers owned about 66 percent of Rocket Internet as of June. Other main shareholders include Sweden’s Investment AB Kinnevik and billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings Inc. The investors will keep their stakes in the IPO while having their holdings diluted by new shares, people have said.

Rocket is working with Berenberg, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley on the IPO, people familiar told Bloomberg News in May. Zalando SE, an online retailer that emerged from Rocket’s incubator, is also preparing for an IPO as early as this year, people have said. -- Bloomberg