Rocket Internet has decided to delist its shares, with the shareholders having approved the buyback offer at the extraordinary general meeting held on September 24, 2020.
The move came as little surprise following repeated speculation surrounding Rocket Internet’s delisting. It is expected to be effected by as early as November after around 81 percent of the shareholders approved the buyback offer, a result that was to be expected given that the founder and CEO of the company owns a large portion of the shares.
For shareholders, these events are anything but a cause for celebration. The company’s delisting confirms their losses, with the SDAX-listed share quoting at 60 percent below the issue price. Rocket Internet has now offered to buy back the shares at a price of 18.57 euros per share. That is the legal minimum price and roughly equal to the current share price, a bitter pill for investors to have to swallow. We at the commercial law firm MTR Rechtsanwälte note that this raises the question of why Rocket Internet’s stock performance has been so unsatisfactory.
Even though the buyback offer of 18.57 euros per share corresponds to the average share price over the past six months, many investors believe the shares to be worth significantly more, referencing valuations made by analysts. They feel like they have been conned.
Criticism of the approach taken by Rocket Internet and of its co-founder is mounting, particularly as the founder’s shares are not affected by the buyback offer. This may be in breach of the principle of equal treatment.
Signs pointing to Rocket Internet’s delisting have been around for some time, meaning the founders could have accounted for the company’s modest performance on the stock exchange and the falling share price. A planned buyback undermines the logic behind any efforts to drive up the share price again.
While investors who opt not to accept the buyback offer do not have to sell their shares, these will likely no longer be tradeable on the German stock exchange and instead only on smaller regional exchanges with significantly less trading activity.
Investors who wish to have someone review their legal options can turn to lawyers with experience in the field of stock corporation law.
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