ROCKET INTERNET has just moved into a splendid, red building in central Berlin, around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie. The lease runs for the next 15 years, a signal of intent from a firm that brags of becoming the biggest online conglomerate outside America and China. Inside, everything is new. Alexander Kudlich, the managing director, jokes he should remove his shoes before stepping on a just-laid, thick, grey carpet in the boardroom.
The timing is awkward. Just as staff entered the building, in early September, Rocket warned about its financial performance this year. It had losses of €617m (just under $700m) in the first six months; the full details came in earnings announced this week. Few are surprised that Rocket, which went public in 2014, had to lower the values of some of its creations. Kinnevik, an investment firm with shares in Rocket that had some of the same holdings, had already done so.
Mr Kudlich claims “we are more bullish than five years ago”. But Rocket is finding life tougher than before its IPO. Its shares are down by almost half in the past year, leaving…Continue reading