takeout takeover Rocket Adds Food Delivery Business

Rocket Internet has bought Turkish food-delivery platform Yemeksepeti for $589 million to build one of the world's largest takeout networks, mirroring popular U.S. company GrubHub, which went public last year.
The food delivery business is growing globally.

Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based tech investor focusing on emerging market ventures, announced the acquisition of Yemeksepeti for $589 million, or €531 million, on Tuesday.

Yemeksepeti is a food-delivery service based in Istanbul which processes 3 million orders per month.

The acquisition extends Rocket Internet’s food delivery network worldwide, providing platforms that bring together restaurants and takeout businesses for people to order in their food.

It spent almost €500 million in February to buy a stake in Delivery Hero, a Berlin-based food order website and Rocket has bundled similar operations in its subsidiary Global Online Takeaway Group.

All of the services parcel out food orders to participating restaurants for delivery and the platforms impose a fee for the service.

We are the largest global online takeaway group outside China in the world. Oliver Samwer, Rocket Internet

Rocket's Yemeksepeti purchase mirrors the growth of Chicago-based GrubHub, a platform offering takeout and delivery services in United States. GrubHub was founded in 2004 and went public on the New York Stock Exchange in April last year, raising nearly €174 million.

Whether Rocket Internet, which on Tuesday also reported a loss for 2014, was planning to list its Global Online Takeaway Group, remained unclear. “We don’t comment on these issues,” Andreas Winiarski, Rocket Internet’s press spokesperson told Handelsblatt Global Edition.

Rocket Internet, which funds e-commerce start-ups, was founded by three brothers, Alexander, Marc and Oliver Samwer, in 2007. They took the company public last year in Germany's biggest Internet flotation since 2000. German online fashion retailer Zalando, which listed last year, was an investment of Rocket until 2013.

Yemeksepeti, Rocket's latest acquisition, is the market leader in food delivery in Turkey and has operations in the Middle East, including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan, Rocket said in a presentation.

With Yemeksepeti, Rocket is the largest food delivery service in the world, outside China, through its subsidiary Global Online Takeaway Group, Rocket's chief executive Oliver Samwer said on Tuesday.

Delivery Hero, whose largest shareholder is Rocket Internet with 40 percent, officially made the acquisition of Yemeksepeti, Mr. Samwer, said on a conference call with investors and journalists.

Rocket Internet founded its Global Online Takeaway Group in February this year, bundling all its holdings in food delivery companies. The group encompasses Delivery Hero, as well as a majority stake of Food Panda, an online takeout delivery service for restaurants similar to U.S. peer GrubHub.

Rocket has bought a series of food delivery services in recent months, including Pizzabo in Italy and La Nevera Roja in Spain. Its unit Delivery Hero has operations in 29 countries, including Central Europe, Scandinavia and Latin America with more than 100,000 restaurants and delivery services, according to its website.


031 WTB 2013


The Yemeksepeti acquisition “will further strengthen our position in the Middle East, a region with enormous growth potential,” Niklas Östberg, chief executive at Food Delivery said.

The price of €531 million was paid through a combination of cash and shares, Delivery Hero said in a statement. It had also bought Greek delivery service e-Food.

“We, (the Global Online Takeaway Group), are adding now 36 million orders, which will bring us to 120 million orders, which will bring us to the next level,” Mr. Samwer said during the conference.

“We are the largest global online takeaway group outside China in the world,” Mr. Samwer said.

Rocket Internet's Global Online Takeaway Group now delivers food in 71 countries and generates up to 120 million orders per year. "The value of all the food that has been ordered over our platform is over €1 billion," Mr. Samwer said.

Earlier this year, Rocket Internet also grew its Food Panda operations, which mainly focuses on Asia and Europe. The tech platform has bought a series of ventures include JUST EAT, Food Runner and Koziness in Asia, which were incorporated into Food Panda. Rocket Internet also owns HelloFood, which focuses mostly on 35 countries in Asia and Africa and Latin America.

The Global Online Takeaway Group is the third such group at Rocket Internet which bundles online platforms for services. Last year, Rocket Internet set up a Global Fashion Group. Shortly afterwards, it created a platform that grouped together online furniture delivery ventures.

In 2014, Rocket Internet lost €20.2 million, the company said in its annual earnings release. In 2013, it made a net profit of €174 million, but only after spinning off online fashion retailer Zalando.

After announcing annual results and the takeover of Yemeksepeti, Rocket shares fell in Frankfurt and were down 2.3 percent by 1117 GMT.

The Samwer brothers still hold a 41 percent stake in Rocket Internet through their investment company Global Founders. Rocket and its subsidiaries employ more than 25,000 people globally, according to its website.


Franziska Scheven is an editor with Handelsblatt Global Edition, based in Berlin, where she is covering Companies and Markets. To contact the author: [email protected]