Rocket Fuel

Philippine Carrier Bets €330 Million on Rocket

Rocket Internet workers at the company's headquarters in Berlin in 2014. Source DPA
PLDT, a Philippines telecom company, on August 7 said it had bought a 10 percent stake in Rocket Internet, a Berlin start-up incubator, for €330 million. Here, workers at Rocket Internet in Berlin.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The deal with Philippines’ Long Distance Telephone represents a substantial leap in the value of Rocket Internet.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Rocket Internet is an incubator specialized in e-commerce.
    • The Berlin start-up plans an initial public offering.
    • The company is worth more than online fashion retailer Zalando.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Rocket Internet AG, the Berlin-based start-up business incubator specializing in e-commerce, has faced its share of criticism since its founding in 2007. Some have taken the firm to task for copying the business models of rivals while others have pondered which of its many investments are really generating a profit.

But there were nothing but smiling faces at the company’s headquarters last week after Philippines-based telecommunications giant Long Distance Telephone Co. bought 10 percent of Rocket’s shares for €330 million ($442.6 million). The investment values Rocket at €3.3 billion.

Despite the new investment, it is an open secret that Rocket plans to go public. Speculation in financial circles was that the increase in private capital should be seen as a sign to potential investors that the company is an attractive investment even without an initial public offering. Rocket is said to be aiming for a stock sale when its valuation is closer to €5 billion, but it could go forward if there were a strategic investment. The base line has been set with the most recent investment.

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