Yemeksepeti.com, Turkey’s biggest online food-ordering company, is close to making an acquisition abroad with funds raised by selling a minority stake to buyout firm General Atlantic LLC for $44 million, its chief executive officer said.
Yemeksepeti, which controls almost the entire Turkish market, is looking at deals in Southeast Asia, South America, North Africa and the Middle East, said Nevzat Aydin, CEO of the online food-ordering company. Altogether, the company plans as many as four deals abroad in the next year, he said in an interview.
Turkish e-commerce market is forecast to grow to 33 billion liras ($18.4 billion) this year from 22 billion last year, according to Oktay Yilmaz, vice president of Electronic Trade Operators’ Association of Turkey. The country has drawn investments from EBay Inc. (EBAY:US), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Naspers Ltd. (NPN), and Tiger Global Management LLC.
“We would like to benefit from the expertise of General Atlantic to grow in other markets,” Aydin said. “We will be using most of the General Atlantic investment as funds for acquisitions,” he said.
“We also plan to start services by the end of this year in the areas of procurement needs for restaurants, online booking at restaurants and online selling of local delicacies from the Turkish cuisine,” Aydin said.
Asia, South America
Yemeksepeti, founded in 2001 by Aydin and three local partners, is expected to grow sales by 46 percent to as much as $190 million this year from $130 million in 2011. The company has contracts with more than 8,000 restaurants, 6,500 of them in Turkey and the rest in Russia and Dubai, Aydin said.
“There is no reason why we can’t be successful in markets like Southeast Asia and Latin America,” said Gabriel Caillaux, a managing director at General Atlantic, in a joint interview with Aydin.
Founding partners of Yemeksepeti will continue managing the company after the General Atlantic investment, its first in Turkey, Caillaux said. General Atlantic, whose investments include Facebook Inc. and the Brazilian bourse BM&FBovespa SA, has about 14 billion euros of assets under management, he said.
“Any acquisitions in Southeast Asia or South America will or elsewhere be through Yemeksepeti,” Caillaux said.
Turkey offers attractive opportunities to international investors, Caillaux said. Still, the Turkish government expects the country’s economy to grow less than 4 percent this year after 8.5 percent last year.
General Atlantic, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, also bought a 30 percent stake in Axel Springer AG’s online Digital Classifieds unit for 237 million euros ($311 million) in March.
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