German technology investment group, Rocket Internet, has sold off its remaining stake in Africa’s largest eCommerce firm, Jumia, according to reports by Reuters. This comes almost a year after the company’s IPO on the New York stock exchange and a month after its financial earning reports for 2019.
In 2016, one of the earliest signs of an exit plan could be surmised when its African subsidiary, Africa Internet Group (AIG), placed all of its African portfolios under the Jumia umbrella viz. Jumia Food, Jumia Travel etc.
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As of 2019, with a 40% stake, MTN was the company’s largest shareholder. Jumia’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2019 appeared to be a good exit plan for MTN and other pre-IPO investors like Rocket Internet and MasterCard amidst losses being recorded by the eCommerce giants. Usually, an IPO exit can place after a share lockdown period of six months.
However, what seemed like a good plan might have hit a few roadblocks given Jumia’s repeated losses, and its dismal showing on the New York stock exchange (NYSE)
Though Jumia listed on the NYSE to resounding success, a Citron research by short-seller, Andrew Left, sent its shares tumbling down and it has continued to go downhill since then.
While declining to pin down a specific date, Bettina Curtze, Rocket Internet’s head of finance and investments, reportedly stated that the company held an 11% stake in Jumia, as of November 8 2019, but it sold off its stake between that time and the onset of the coronavirus crisis.
While the details of the sale’s proceeds were not revealed, Rocket Internet reportedly insisted that they took part in the 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) of the net cash Jumia had as of March 31.
Initially founded in 2012 as Kasuwa (Market in the Hausa language), by Sacha Poignonecc, Jeremy Hodara, Tunde Kehinde and Rafael Kofi Afaedor, Jumia was backed by the likes of Rocket Internet, MTN and Millicom.
In 2016, Jumia secured over €300 million of funding from Rocket Internet, MTN, AXA, Goldman Sachs, Orange and CDC.
It has since secured other investments from the companies like Pernod Ricard and MasterCard in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Since last year, Jumia has appeared to be trimming down its size with an exit from some African markets and has been leaning more towards its payment platform, JumiaPay which has been recording really good numbers since its rollout.
Currently trading at $2.82 per share, Jumia is now valued at $215 million, far removed from its lofty heights of $48 per share and a valuation of $3.14 billion in April 2019.