Shares in Rocket Internet fell nearly 4 per cent after Kinnevik, the Swedish investment company, said it was selling its remaining stake in the German tech company.
Kinnevik said it was launching an accelerated bookbuilding process to institutional investors of around 10.9m shares in Rocket, representing 6.6 per cent of the German company’s issued share capital and Kinnevirk’s entire remaining shareholding in Rocket.
The departure of Kinnevik, which sold half of its 13 per cent stake in Rocket in February, is a big blow to the German company’s credibility. It had been Rocket’s largest investor outside its founders, Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer.
Rocket built up a reputation as the mainstay of Berlin’s thriving tech scene, creating a huge stable of ecommerce companies active in emerging markets such as Africa, Russia and Latin America. Some, such as meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh, have developed into multi-billion euro businesses.
But Rocket’s shares have performed poorly since it listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange in 2014 amid questions about the continuing losses at the companies it invests in as well as concerns about the way it values the stakes in its start-ups.
Recently its share price has recovered after press reports emerged that two of its portfolio companies, HelloFresh and Delivery Hero, a food delivery company, were planning initial public offerings. Delivery Hero confirmed those reports this week, saying it planned to raise €450m from newly issued primary shares.
HelloFresh had been heading for an IPO in 2015 but the plan was pulled as investors balked at its €2.6bn valuation.
If the Delivery Hero float goes ahead, it would be the first by a Rocket-backed company since its 2014 IPO, and would come as a major relief to Rocket shareholders.
But it would come too late to salvage the relationship with Kinnevik. Last year the Swedish group withdrew its representatives, Lorenzo Grabau and Erik Mitteregger, from Rocket’s supervisory board.