Rockaway buys Naspers’ Czech online business as it seeks leading position in CEE

By bne IntelliNews October 26, 2015

Investment group Rockaway Capital has agreed to buy the Czech online business of South Africa’s Naspers for $201mn, it said on October 26.

The acquisition, one of the biggest e-commerce deals in the Czech Republic over the last few years, will help Rockaway become the leading online retailer in Central Europe with annual revenues on track to exceed €1bn over the next few years, the investment firm said in a statement on its website.

Rockaway is buying online retailer Netretail and price comparison platform Heureka. Netretail is a leading CEE e-retailer with annual revenues of €400m and over 10mn customers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. Heureka operates online comparison search engines in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“The acquisition of NetRetail Holding and Heureka fulfils our vision to be the leading e-commerce player in the Central and Eastern European region, with the top general and speciality e-commerce companies in our portfolio. We will now focus on delivering a world class experience to our millions of customers and expanding our footprint in the region”, Rockaway owner and CEO Jakub Havrlant said.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals. Rockaway said the financing of the acquisition is being provided by Czech billionaires Daniel Kretinsky and Patrik Tkas and PPF, the closely-held financial group owned by the Czech Republic's richest man Petr Kellner.

Naspers said the divestment is part of a plan to optimise its group structure and comes after a failure to merge Netretail with Romanian internet retailer eMAG to create an e-commerce platform across Central and Eastern Europe. The Cape Town-based media company has decided to focus on eMAG as its online-retail platform in the region, it said.

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