Second biggest Czech internet retailer to change hands in huge deal
The investment group Rockaway Capital has agreed to buy the second biggest internet retailer on the Czech market, Mall.cz, and the price comparison website, Heureka.cz, for CZK 5.4 billion. The deal is being financed by the billionaires Daniel Křetínský and Patrik Tkáč and the PPF Group owned by the richest Czech, Petr Kellner, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday.
Rockaway Capital has made a deal to buy a 100-percent stake in Netretail Holding, operator of the second biggest Czech internet retailer Mall.cz (Alza.cz is the biggest), and Naspers OCS Czech Republic, which runs the price comparison website Heureka.cz.
The director of Rockaway Capital, Jakub Havrlant, said the two were successful firms that would further develop his company’s activities in the field of e-commerce. Mr. Havrlant said the move would allow Rockaway Capital to quickly attack turnover of one billion euros and become the leader of the region’s e-commerce market.
The CEO of Netretail Holding, Ondřej Fyrc, said internet commerce was still in its infancy. This deal is an important milestone on the journey the company began 15 years ago, he said.
Earlier this year Rockaway Capital purchased via E-commerce Holding a stake in the online electronics store CZC.cz, a deal which is currently being reviewed by the regulator. The move followed Rockaway Capital’s purchase of the Vivantis e-shop network in 2014. E-commerce Holding should achieve turnover of CZK 4 billion this year.
Mall.cz’s hitherto owner Netretail Holding is part of the global group Naspers. In the 2013–2014 financial year Netretail Holding reported turnover of CZK 8 billion, half of which was accounted for by foreign subsidiaries in Poland, Slovenia, Hungary and Slovakia.
According to its financial statements, the price comparison site Heureka.cz had turnover of CZK 341 million last year.
Research by Heureka.cz and the Association for Electronic Commerce suggests that Czechs will spend a record CZK 81 billion on online purchases in 2015, an upswing of 21 percent from last year.
Electronics are the most popular online purchase on the Czech market but other areas are growing fast. In 2014, the online market in over the counter medicines jumped by 25 percent, while home and garden ware and clothing saw similar increases.
Mr. Křetínský, Mr. Tkáč and the J&T investment group own Energetický a průmyslový holding, which operates around 40 companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Poland, chiefly in the field of energy. The two billionaires also own Czech News Center, publisher of the popular tabloid Blesk.
Mr. Kellner’s PPF Group invests in a variety of fields, including banking and financial services, telecommunications, biotechnology, real estate, retail services, insurance and agriculture.