SoftBank-Backed Auto1 Plans to Raise $1.2 Billion in IPO
(Bloomberg) -- German online car dealer Auto1 Group GmbH plans to raise about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in an initial public offering in the first quarter, paving the way for backer SoftBank Group Corp. to eventually cash in its investment.
Auto1 will plow about 750 million euros of the proceeds back into the business, in particular its Autohero.com used-car platform. Following the Frankfurt listing, the company could be valued at more than 6 billion euros, people familiar with the matter said, declining to be identified because the information is private. Auto1 didn’t comment on the valuation.
The Berlin-based company was set up by Christian Bertermann and Hakan Koc in 2012. It currently operates in 30 European markets and reported third-quarter sales of 769 million euros, 17% lower than a year earlier. Profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounted to 16 million euros.
“The planned IPO is the next logical step to reinforce Auto1 Group as the go-to online destination for buying and selling used cars in Europe,” Bertermann, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Auto1’s IPO pitch is based on the resilience of its business at a time when physical car showrooms are hamstrung by measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. In 2019, the European used-car market amounted to about 600 billion euros, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants.
While Auto1 mainly buys from retail clients and sells to brick-and-mortar dealers, Autohero.com offers vehicles to the former type of customer.
SoftBank is preparing to take at least six of its portfolio companies public this year, consolidating a 2020 turnaround that raised the value of Masayoshi Son’s technology conglomerate to the highest since the dot-com boom.
Among its startups heading for IPOs are South Korean e-commerce pioneer Coupang Corp., Indonesian online mall operator PT Tokopedia and China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, according to a Bloomberg report. That follows successful offerings from DoorDash Inc. and KE Holdings Inc. in 2020.
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