* Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa bought Polish Allegro last
* The funds say Allegro's IPO is an option in coming years
* While focusing on Allegro's growth, they eye more M&As in
By Agnieszka Barteczko and Jakub Iglewski
WARSAW, Oct 19 The three private equity funds
that bought Polish auction website Allegro from South Africa's
Naspers last week are targeting more investment in Poland and in
the region, they said.
Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa bought Allegro and Ceneo from
Naspers for $3.25 billion in one of Poland's biggest takeover
"We have looked at several potential assets in Poland and we
continue to do so. However, we invest first and foremost on a
sector basis. So we like Allegro as a TMT/e-commerce business,"
Cinven senior principal Thomas Railhac told Reuters on Tuesday.
While Mid Europa has been present in Poland for over 15
years - retail chain Zabka is its flagship investment - the
Allegro purchase is Cinven and Permira's first in eastern and
central Europe's biggest economy.
"Of course we have asked ourselves questions about the
situation in Poland. We do this whenever we enter any new
geography," Permira partner Richard Sanders said. But he added:
"We feel very confident that the Polish economy will continue to
Since coming to power last October the conservative Law and
Justice party (PiS) has halted privatisations and questioned the
rationale and pricing of the previous government's stake sales.
The three said they were all looking at investment
opportunities in Poland and in the region, although not
They declined to comment on whether they were interested in
buying brewer SABMiller's central and eastern European
beer brands. Some global buyout funds are seeking to buy assets
worth up to 7 billion euros.
They also declined to comment on any other potential deals.
"The fact that we joined forces on this particular
opportunity (Allegro) does not mean that we will be doing it on
any other or all other opportunities in the region for the
future, although our cooperation was very good," Mid Europa's
Pawel Padusinski said. Mid Europa is also preparing the sale of
With over 14 million clients, Allegro competes with eBay
and Amazon as well as e-commerce site OLX,
which is also owned by Naspers.
"We want this business to be the No. 1 business in Poland's
e-commerce in the next three to five years," Padusinski said.
Poland's e-commerce market is expected to grow by 15 percent
in 2016 to 35.8 billion zlotys and to 63 billion by 2020,
according to Sociomantic Labs.
"Our usual investment horizon is five to seven years and
this investment is no different," Sanders said.
"(But) given the characteristics of the Allegro business,
the brand on the Polish market, long-term growth prospects, it
could be an attractive IPO candidate further down the line," he
(Editing by Susan Thomas)