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Mastercard to Join Investors in Africa Online Retailer Jumia

U.S. credit-card giant to take undisclosed stake ahead of IPO

Other shareholders in ‘unicorn’ Jumia include Pernod Ricard

Jumia Technologies AG said Mastercard Inc. has agreed to invest 50 million euros ($56 million) in a private placement ahead of the Africa-focused online retailer’s planned initial public offering in New York.

The U.S. credit-card giant joins shareholders such as French drinks maker Pernod Ricard SA, which bought a 5.1 percent stake for 75 million euros in December, and largest investors MTN Group Ltd. and Rocket Internet SE.

The Pernod deal valued Jumia at about 1.4 billion euros, making the Inc.-like firm a rare African unicorn -- a private company valued at more than $1 billion. It is selling 13.5 million American Depository Shares at $13 to $16 each, according to a filing last week, which could raise as much as $216 million.

The move by Mastercard increases the chances of a successful share sale for loss-making Jumia, which has about 4 million customers across 14 African countries. Founded by French entrepreneurs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, the group is tapping into rising internet availability in Africa as well as a lack of desirable items such as designer watches and sunglasses.

Mastercard also agreed to a new partnership to help Jumia grow its operations, Berlin-based Jumia said in an emailed statement on Monday. The U.S credit-card giant “has been rapidly expanding its presence and partnerships in Africa, bringing new technologies,” Elcin Yanik, a marketing executive at the Purchase, New York-based company, said in the same statement.