Handelsblatt Exclusive

Board Battle at Rocket Internet

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Rocket Internet, one of Germany's high-tech darlings, is struggling amid falling profits, share prices and now the sudden departure of its chairman, who was the representative of a big Swedish shareholder called Kinnevik. That spells trouble for co-founder Oliver Samwer, who is pictured.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Rocket Internet made a high profile public debut last year, raising €1.4 billion, or $1.5 billion, but the company still needs to prove its investments can make money.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Loss-making Rocket Internet holds investments in hundreds of online startups and is most famously known for helping to grow German online fashion retailer Zalando.
    • Berlin-based Rocket Internet has replaced its supervisory board chairman, Lorenzo Grabau, who heads major shareholder Kinnevik, with the board’s deputy chairman, Marcus Englert.
    • Nine-month revenue at Rocket’s biggest online retailers jumped 120 percent to €2.17 billion, but operating losses amounted to €629 million.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Imagine, for a moment, that a major public company in Europe suddenly suffered an exodus of department heads in finance, human resources, technology and public relations.

Then, as if that weren’t alarming enough for investors and analysts, the non-executive supervisory board chairman bolts.

Germany’s Rocket Internet, the online startup platform which raised €1.4 billion, or $1.5 billion, last year, finds itself “in exactly this situation,” one company insider, who declined to be named, told Handelsblatt.

Once the unabashed rising star of Europe’s technology sector with a portfolio of online retailers valued at €6.1 billion, the mood at the company’s headquarters in Berlin now mirrors the trajectory of its share price: downward.

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