We want shoes and fashion, baby – JP Morgan invests in Zalando



US financial firm JP Morgan and Quadrant Capital Advisors are to become the latest investors in fast-growing internet retail empire Zalando.

Zalando broke the news today, with a brief press release annoucing a successful conclusion of talks. The amount invested and terms are undisclosed, though a Zalando spokesperson told VentureVillage both new investors will now hold a stake of about one per cent each.

JP Morgan Asset Management managing director Robert Cousin noted the company had quickly established itself as a leading online fashion retailer in Europe. “We are impressed with Zalando’s large, growing, and loyal customer base as well as the breadth of products offered on the company’s e-commerce platform.”

Robert Gentz and David Schneider founded Zalando in 2008 in partnership with Berlin-headquartered incubator Rocket Internet. Since then, the online shoes and fashion retailer has grown from its base in Berlin to span twelve European markets, with two more – Poland and Norway – to follow soon. Zalando reported a €510m turnover in 2011 but posted an operating loss that year citing “strong growth and geographical expansion”.

“We’re pleased that we were able to secure such internationally-established investors as JP Morgan Asset Management and Quadrant Capital Advisors,” Zalando managing director Rubin Ritter said, adding that 2012 has been a “very successful” year so far. “We will continue to invest in growth as well as building a solid company.”

Zalando’s investors include Rocket Internet (the main shareholder, at about 45 per cent based on April 20 2012 figures), Holtzbrinck Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures, Kinnevik – a major bankroller of Rocket Internet –  and DST Global. Both Kinnevik and DST Global opted to increase their stake in the company by five per cent each earlier this year.

In December last year, JP Morgan led a $176m investment round in social commerce platform Living Social, and also recently closed a $135m credit facility for Gogo, a leader in wireless in-flight digital entertainment, in partnership with Morgan Stanley.

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