Advised PriceMinister, the #1 online shopping destination in France, on its sale to Rakuten, Japan’s largest online shopping mall operator
Jun 2010
acquired by
$260 million
  • Sector: Media & Internet
  • Deal Type: Strategic Deals; Founder-led Businesses; Venture Capital Exits
  • Engagement type: Sellside
  • Size: $260 million
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Arma Partners is pleased to announce that it is acting as financial adviser to PriceMinister S.A. (“PriceMinister”) on its proposed sale to Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755) (“Rakuten”), announced on June 17, 2010. The transaction is valued at c.€200 million and is expected to complete during July 2010.

With over 11 million unique monthly visitors and 12 million members, PriceMinister is the largest eCommerce site in France by audience, surpassing the online audience of eBay. PriceMinister provides consumers with a guaranteed online shopping experience, via its eMarketplace (www.priceminister.com). The company has more than 100,000 active sellers and over 21,000 merchants offering an extensive selection exceeding 160 million products. PriceMinister has successfully launched eMarketplace operations in both Spain and the United Kingdom.

In addition to its eMarketplace, PriceMinister also owns and operates one of France’s foremost online travel sites VoyagerMoinsCher (www.voyagermoinscher.com) and pre-eminent online property classifieds site A Vendre A Louer (www.avendrealouer.fr).

The transaction brings an important partner for PriceMinister. Rakuten is one of the world’s pre-eminent eCommerce companies via its eMarketplace, Rakuten Ichiba, which is Japan’s number one shopping site. By leveraging Rakuten’s expertise in empowering merchants and deploying sales campaigns, PriceMinister will strengthen its competitive advantage in both the French and European markets.

The sale of PriceMinister to Rakuten is a significant milestone in the development of Arma Partners’ global Media and Digital Media practice and highlights the firm’s ability to provide market-leading, seamless advice across the entire Technology, Media & Telecommunications (“TMT”) spectrum.

This transaction also highlights Arma Partners’ world-class cross-border M&A advisory capabilities and is the first transaction that leverages the firm’s relationship with Sangyo Sosei Advisory (www.sangyososei.com), Japan’s leading independent TMT advisory group.

– Founded in 2000, PriceMinister is the largest e-Commerce site in France by audience

– In addition to France, PriceMinister has established its marketplace business in Spain and the United Kingdom

– It has become the European leader in guaranteed buying and selling on the Internet

– It consists of five business lines: Guaranteed Buying and Selling (marketplace), Automobile (classifieds), Travel (price comparison), Real estate (classifieds) and E-mail Marketing

– In Japan, Rakuten has approximately 64 million registered members and sales in 2009 totalled US$3.2 billion

– Its core business “Rakuten Ichiba” is Japan’s largest Internet shopping mall and offers more than 58 million products from over 33,000 merchants, some of whom have turnover of more than US$1 million per month

– It is engaged in other Internet businesses such as a travel agency and financial services

– This acquisition is a significant step toward Rakuten’s objective to create a global shopping platform. Further, the transaction will also develop its global network of e-commerce businesses by leveraging its presence in Asia, the US and Europe

– With Rakuten’s deep knowledge of how to build long term relationships with merchants and consumers and B2B2C marketplace business model, PriceMinister can grow even faster by combining both respective strengths

– Post completion, PriceMinister management team will continue to work with the company to continue to develop the platform in France and across Europe

– PriceMinister had received inbound expressions of interest due to its unique position in the European B2B2C marketplaces landscape

– Arma combined these approaches with focused enquiries of a small handful of other relevant players to create a highly targeted and discreet sale process

– Arma also worked with management to articulate PriceMinister’s European growth strategy

– Once Rakuten had been identified as the strongest buyer, Arma, together with the management team, was able to drive this successful process to completion within a compact timeframe

– The transaction valuation provides a highly attractive return for the shareholders and financial investors, and Rakuten can take advantage of synergy opportunities as it leverages its B2B2C expertise within PriceMinister’s European platform