Founder sells Romanian online marketplace Elefant to its largest customer evoMag

Founder sells Romanian online marketplace Elefant to its largest customer evoMag
By bne IntelliNews May 12, 2023

The founder of Romanian marketpace Elefant Online, former Moldovan prime minister Ion Sturza, sold a majority stake (58.8%) in the company to evoMag, an independent online retailer that is also the marketplace’s main customer. is one of the largest online retailers in Romania, with over 2mn customers, a marketplace with over 400 companies and a portfolio of 3mn products. However, it nearly doubled its losses in 2022 to RON27.4mn (€5.4mn) while its turnover contracted by 19% y/y to RON184mn. 

"The e-commerce market in Romania, which has reached maturity with over 50% of the residents already familiar with online shopping, needs strong competitors. That is why we considered that a consolidation of the two operations will be beneficial both for evoMag and, as well as for eCommerce users in Romania," commented Mihai Patrascu, founder and CEO of evoMag.

The deal needs prior approval from the competition body.

The company reported the deal to the investors on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, where its bonds are traded. Having an 8% coupon attached, the bonds (denominated in local currency) mature on November 2026 and are traded 11% below par. Elefant Online issued the RON17.5mn bonds in January 2022.

Venture capital fund manager Catalyst Romania SCA SICAR sold its 9.62% stake to evoMag as well. Catalyst also owns a 25% stake in evoMag through one of its funds Catalyst Romania Fund II.

Axxess Capital will retain its 28% stake in Elefant Online.

EvoMag is controlled by local entrepreneur Mihai Patrascu (63.63%).