* Zalando investors convinced of strategy
* Zalando considering IPO in October - sources
* Ex-Telekom boss Kai-Uwe Ricke could take Zalando stake
BERLIN, July 1 Europe's largest online fashion
retailer Zalando - founded in 2008 with help from venture
capitalists - does not expect investors to use any initial
public offering (IPO) to cash out of the company, an executive
told a German newspaper on Tuesday.
The Berlin-based start-up is considering an IPO in October,
people familiar with the transaction told Reuters on Monday, and
Rocket Internet, the venture capital group that used to be a
major investor in it, is also considering its own
This prompted speculation in a recent article in German
business monthly Manager Magazine that Rocket Internet founders,
brothers Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer, might look to cash
out at least some of their investment, along with Kinnevik
But Zalando board member Ruben Ritter told the
Boersen-Zeitung in an interview: "Management and investors are
completely convinced of our strategy and our business model
which we want to continue to build together."
"It bothers me that an IPO is always equated with investors
cashing in and exiting. That doesn't have to be the case. An IPO
can also serve to raise capital for the business to bring it to
a new level," he added.
Sources familiar with the transaction told Reuters that
Zalando would probably only list a 10-15 percent stake, raising
less than 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion), at least in part
because investors did not want to divest their stakes.
Last week sources told Reuters that Rocket Internet will
also aim to raise new capital to help it grow rather than see
current owners cash out if it decides to proceed with a listing.
Kinnevik has a 36 percent stake in Zalando, followed by the
European Founders Fund of the Samwer brothers on 17 percent and
Danish fashion magnate Anders Holch Povlsen on some 10 percent.
Citing unnamed financial sources, the Boersen-Zeitung said
Kai-Uwe Ricke, the former chief executive of Deutsche Telekom
who joined the Zalando supervisory board in May,
could also take a stake soon.
A Zalando spokesman declined to comment.
Ritter said that loss-making Zalando had 350 million euros
in liquidity at the end of 2013 so was not dependent on outside
financing, but was open to new investors, particularly if they
brought expertise in areas like e-commerce or fashion.
The Berlin-based retailer, whose rivals include Britain's
ASOS Plc, started selling shoes in Germany in 2008 and
has expanded to 1,500 different brands in 15 countries.
($1 = 0.7331 Euros)
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, additional reporting by Mia
Shanley in Stockholm; Editing by Sophie Walker)