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Start-up factory Rocket Internet to delist, six years after going public

Oliver Samwer, CEO and founder Rocket Internet, on the floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in October 2014.

Arne Dedert | picture alliance via Getty Images

German tech investment firm Rocket Internet is set to delist, the company announced Tuesday, around six years after it went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The Berlin-based firm — which is often referred to as a start-up factory — said in a statement that it was offering investors 18.57 euros ($22.23) for each of their shares, lower than Monday’s closing price of 18.95 euros. Rocket Internet shares initially rose on the news Tuesday morning, before falling around 1.3%.

Founded in 2007, Rocket Internet became controversial for building start-ups that cloned the business models of U.S. internet giants such as Amazon, Uber and Airbnb. For its part, Rocket Internet says it merely adapts proven models for untapped local markets. Some of its most notable bets include German e-commerce firm Zalando, food delivery service Delivery Hero and meal-kit provider HelloFresh.

Rocket Internet has seen its share price steadily decline in the years since it went public, falling from a market value of 6.7 billion euros ($8 billion) on the day of its IPO to just 2.6 billion euros as of Tuesday. The stock is down almost 15% year-to-date.

Explaining the reason behind its decision to delist, Rocket Internet said it was “better positioned as a company not listed on a stock exchange” as this would allow it to focus on long-term bets.

“The use of public capital markets as a financing source as essential parameter for maintaining a stock exchange listing is no longer required and adequate access to capital is secured outside the stock exchange,” the company said in a statement.

“Outside a capital markets environment, the Company will be able to focus on a long-term development irrespective of temporary circumstances capital markets tend to put emphasis on.”

Rocket Internet said that its investment division, Global Founders Capital, and CEO Oliver Samwer, would retain their stakes of 45.11% and 4.53% respectively. The group’s bets have made billionaires out of Samwer and his brothers and co-founders Alexander and Marc. Each has a net worth of $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Rocket Internet will hold a virtual shareholder meeting on Sept. 24 with the aim of getting approval for its plan to delist. The company said it had also launched a separate buyback program to secure 8.84% of its shares from the stock market. It aims to complete this buyback by the end of Sept. 15.

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