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Rocket Internet Prices Shares to Value Firm Around $8 Billion

Rocket is looking to expand its e-commerce efforts in regions not already dominated by Amazon or Alibaba.

Rocket Internet

Germany’s Rocket Internet, a venture capital group that has launched dozens of online startups, priced its initial public stock offering in a range of 35.50 to 42.50 euros per share, valuing the company at some 6.2 billion euros ($8 billion).

The Berlin-based company said in a statement Tuesday it expected gross proceeds of about 1.477 billion euros from the offering. This assumes it places the maximum number of shares at the midpoint of the price range, with a free float after lock-ups of 24 percent.

Rocket Internet wants to replicate the success of Amazon and Alibaba in markets that the U.S. and Chinese groups have yet to dominate, such as Africa, Latin America, Russia and other parts of Asia.

Founded in 2007 by brothers Oliver, Alexander and Marc Samwer, Rocket has set up e-commerce and online marketplaces for everything from taxis to meal deliveries in more than 100 countries, posting revenue of $1 billion in 2013.

“We believe Rocket has a unique opportunity to participate in the growth of Internet commerce in emerging markets,” Rocket Internet Chief Executive Oliver Samwer said in the statement on Tuesday. “Through our operating platform, we are building and scaling the Internet giants of tomorrow.”

Zalando, Europe’s biggest online fashion player and one of the companies that Rocket helped launch, is also planning an initial public offering that could value the company at up to 5.6 billion euros, attracting strong demand so far for its shares.

The two flotations will make billionaires of the three Samwer brothers, who own 52.3 percent of the Rocket stock as well as stakes in Zalando.

Rocket said the offer period would start on Sept. 24 and end on Oct. 7 with a listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange planned for Oct. 9.

It said major investors had committed to buy shares worth 582.5 million euros, including 350 million from Baillie Gifford & Co., led by its Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and 100 million from J.P. Morgan.

Rocket said the proceeds would be used to fund the launch of new companies, finance existing firms and consolidate Rocket’s stakes in some of its more established companies.

It reiterated that no existing shareholders would sell any shares in the offering and that all of them, as well as its cornerstone investors, had committed to a 12-month lock-up period.

(Editing by Jonathan Gould and Jane Baird)

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