3i invests €32 million in Empruntis.com, France's leading online broker of financial products
3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces that it has taken a 40% stake in Empruntis.com, an independent online broker of financial products including mortgages, personal loans and insurance, for €32 million.
A year after investing in SeLoger.com, a leader in online real estate listing services, 3i is continuing its strategy of supporting rapidly-growing Internet companies by investing in Empruntis alongside the company's founding managers.
Empruntis.com was founded in 2000 by Vincent Lemaire, Geoffroy Bragadir, and Yann Djenderedjan and has quickly become France's leading online broker of financial products. Its website allows consumers seeking a mortgage, personal loan or insurance (car, home or health insurance) to obtain a real-time comparison of a variety of products provided by banks and insurance companies. Its business model is based on receiving commission from partners according to the amount of new business generated from Empruntis' website.
Empruntis is France's largest online loan broker with over 80,000 applications per month. Its powerful IT platform allows it to carefully manage the entire value-added chain. The company works with over 120 partners, including major banking and insurance institutions, and employs 280 people in its Paris headquarters.
Empruntis has decided to remain a pure online player, so that it can rapidly respond to the changing market and generate a high profit margin.
Through expertise gained from its investment in Interhyp, the leading online mortgage broker in Germany, 3i recognised Empruntis' growth drivers and convinced the management team of its ability to support the company. Empruntis is aiming to double the brokerage business by 2010, and to grow the business by expanding its offering to include loan refinancing, personal insurance, tax-exempt products etc.
Vincent Lemaire, Empruntis' CEO, commented: "3i's practical approach, strong knowledge of the Internet sector, understanding of our challenges, and more generally, experience of investing in companies at a similar stage to ours, are what quickly won us over." According to Guy Zarzavatdjian, Managing Director 3i France, "The knowledge we gained about the sector, the Internet, and financial services from our involvement with SeLoger.com and Interhyp has enabled us to fully appreciate Empruntis' value creation potential. The quality of its management and the strength of its business model convinced us that Empruntis is the player to invest in in France."
The original shareholders, Pechel Industries and Aurinvest, will sell their stakes in Empruntis. The transaction was arranged by Close Brothers, and finalised by 3i in less than 4 months.
Notes to editors
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on buyouts, growth capital, and venture capital, and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships. 3i invested €1.63 billion during the fiscal year ended March 31 2006, including €670 million in buyouts, €740 million in growth capital, and €230 million in venture capital.