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.

(Bloomberg)—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% stake for 75 million euros ($84.2 million)  in December, and largest investors MTN Group Ltd. and Rocket Internet SE.

The Pernod deal valued Jumia at about 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion), making the Amazon.com 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.

 

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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.

Jumia is No. 29 in the Internet Retailer Online Marketplaces.

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