Cinven, Permira and Mid Europa Partners agreed on Friday (Oct. 14) to acquire Naspers’ Polish online auction site, dubbed Allegro, for $3.25 billion.
According to a Bloomberg report, the move is designed to take on competitors, including eBay, in Poland. The move is also part of Naspers’ strategy to monetize some of its investments. Naspers acquired Allegro in 2008 for around $1.5 billion, noted the report. The group of private equity firms that acquired Allegro outbid other groups of private equity firms, including one that was made up of CVC Capital Partners and General Atlantic and group made up of Advent International and Hellman & Friedman, the report noted, citing people familiar with the matter.
Allegro is the leading eCommerce platform in Eastern Europe and counts greater than 14 million monthly users. If the deal goes through, Bloomberg noted it would be one of the five biggest acquisitions of a Polish asset ever. The report noted Naspers will use the proceeds to pay down debt, to bankroll its eCommerce initiatives and to finance new buys. Naspers is committed to its remaining assets in Poland, such as PayU, Bloomberg noted.
In July, Bloomberg broke the news that Naspers was shopping around Allegro. At the time, Bloomberg said Naspers could fetch a fair price in a win-win situation. The move comes a few short months after Naspers spokeswoman Meloy Horn responded to a Reuters report of an imminent sale of the company’s Allegro property with an emphatic no. “Allegro is a strong-performing, profitable eCommerce business, and we have no plans to sell it,” Horn said in January. Come June, however, and Horn sang a very different tune to Bloomberg when rumors of Allegro’s imminent sale popped up for a second time. “It is our company policy to neither acknowledge or deny our involvement in any merger, acquisition or divestiture activity, nor to comment on market rumors,” Horn said in an email.