Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based startup factory that held an IPO back in 2014, is delisting its shares from the Frankfurt and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges. As rationale for the delisting, a press release says private capital, specifically growth capital, is much more available these days — and “could not have been anticipated at the time of the company’s IPO” — so the need for public trading on capital markets simply isn’t there anymore.
Once delisted, according to management and supervisory boards, the German company could pursue a longer term business strategy with less legal and administrative complexity (and lower costs). The statement offered no insight into what that strategy might actually be.
Founded in 2007, Rocket Internet built itself on short-term rapid growth, creating and investing in multiple startups at once, sometimes even backing two competitors in the same sector. The company has seen success with Delivery Hero, HelloFresh and Home24, ecommerce startups which all grew from incubator status to their own IPOs. But it has also faltered and fallen silent in the last few years, reporting massive losses in 2016 and otherwise reporting very few wins.
The delisting self-tender offer involves a share buyback program of nearly 12 million shares (8.84 percent of the company’s share capital), which starts today and wraps up on September 15. Shares will be bought at €18.57 each. Later that month, the boards will hold an extraordinary general meeting, bringing all shareholders together virtually, to vote on two items: decreasing the company’s share capital and acquiring tens of millions of treasury shares.