South Africa’s Naspers (NPNJn.J) is set to receive at least four bids for Allegro in a deal that could value Eastern Europe’s No.1 auction website at up to US$2.2 billion, sources familiar with the talks said on Monday.
The four bidders are expected to submit offers for “the Polish eBay” ahead of a Tuesday deadline for first-round bids.
The sources said Advent International had teamed with U.S. private equity fund Hellman & Friedman; Apax Partners with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; Cinven [CINV.UL] with Permira; and CVC Capital Partners [CVC.UL] with U.S. buyout group General Atlantic.
Permira, Cinven, Apax, Advent, H&F and General Atlantic declined to comment, while Naspers, CVC and CPPIB were not available for immediate comment.
Advent and CVC have already invested in Poland — the latter with an investment last year in railway utility PKP Energetyka which the government wants to annul.
With over 14 million clients, Allegro competes with eBay (EBAY.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) as well as OLX.pl, which is also owned by Naspers.
Poland’s e-commerce market is expected to grow by 15 percent in 2016 to 35.8 billion zlotys and to 63 billion by 2020, according to Sociomantic Labs.
Allegro is the largest e-commerce investment for Naspers — Africa’s largest company by market value.
Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era publisher into a US$65 billion Internet powerhouse by focusing on e-commerce in emerging markets.
It operates in over 130 countries with stakes in Russian internet group Mail.Ru Group (MAILRq.L) and in Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), China’s biggest social network and online entertainment company.
By Sophie Sassard and Lina Saigol
(Additional reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw and TJ Strydom in Johannesburg; editing by Jason Neely)
(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)
Photo courtesy of Naspers