Kinnevik, a Swedish investment company which specialised in small to mid-sized companies with growth potential, now owns 26 percent of Zalando. Its recent investment of €287 million bought it a further 10 percent of the business, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper said on Friday.
It has been buying into in the online retailer since 2009, said head of Kinnevik's board Mia Brunell Livors. “Since then we have been following the company's roaring success.”
It has not been plain sailing for Zalando, which is expected to list a turnover of €1.0 billion for 2012.
It has lost money for the last two years despite attracting more venture capital than any other German online business.
But with a rapid expansion on the cards, and websites up and running in 14 different countries – including France, UK and Spain, Kinnevik said that it wanted to play an active role in further expansion.
Brunell Livors, who as a member of the advisory board for hugely successful high-street label H&M is no stranger to the business of fashion, said Zalando was one of the most successful online shops in Europe.
The new 10 percent that Kinnevik now owns formerly belonged to Holtzbrinck Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures and Rocket Internet – all German companies. Rocket still owns 44 percent of the firm though, making it the biggest shareholder.
Run by three brothers, Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer, Rocket Internet was where Zalando begun. It incubates new start-ups until they are ready to operate independently and it is the biggest firm of its kind. Zalando could be the first of their protégé companies to list on the stock market.
Other companies with a share in the Zalando include Russian investors Digital Sky Technology, who this year bought nine percent. It also owns shares in Facebook and Twitter.
Over the summer, the company received €40.7 million in loan capital from Commerzbank and a central Thuringia Sparkasse bank. In the first half of 2012, it reported net sales of €471 million.