Rocket Internet shares rise after report on potential delisting

BERLIN (Reuters) - Shares in German ecommerce investor Rocket Internet jumped more than 7% on Thursday after a magazine reported that Chief Executive Officer Oliver Samwer is planning to delist the company to make more autonomous investment decisions.

The supervisory board of Rocket Internet has discussed the project, Manager Magazin said. It said the most likely scenario was for Rocket Internet to buy back shares using cash on hand of 3.6 billion euros ($4.07 billion) in the company’s treasury.

Holding on to his shares would see Samwer increase his stake to at least 75% from 44% currently.

A spokeswoman for Rocket Internet declined to comment on the report.

It was uncertain whether United Internet and investment company Baillie Gifford, which hold 9% and 7%, respectively, were willing to sell their stakes, Manager Magazin added.

Before Thursday’s share price surge, the company had a market value of 3.7 billion euros. The shares had lost more than 20% since July last year, when they reached a three-year high.

Within months of the initial market listing in late 2014, the company’s market value had ballooned to 9 billion euros.

Part of the rationale behind Samwer’s plans is his preference to use Rocket as a vehicle to make stealth invests in ventures without having to comply with the disclosure obligations of a listed group, the magazine said.

After a shaky start in 2014, the group has successfully listed a raft of firms including Delivery Hero, HelloFresh and Home24.

($1 = 0.8853 euros)

Reporting by Thomas Seythal and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Michelle Martin