French insurance group AXA is spending approximately $84 million for an 8% stake in Africa Internet Group, the owner of several e-ventures, including Jumia, the continent’s largest online retailer, in a deal that reportedly values AIG at over $1 billion. As part of the deal, AXA will have exclusive rights to market its products through AIG’s portfolio of online and mobile consumer companies.
The capital will be used to strengthen the firm’s balance sheet as well as fund the Rocket Internet-owned company’s expansion plans into other markets. As well as Jumia, AIG owns and operates a network of online and mobile startup platforms across several consumer verticals including Easy Taxi, Everjobs, HelloFood, Jovago and Zando, giving it exposure to 23 African markets.
The deal is yet more evidence of insurance companies’ scramble to tap into the rapidly-growing demand for financial services and insurance products in African markets which benefit from low penetration rates, a youthful demographic with increasing spending power and increasing levels of mobile and internet technology adoption.
Commenting on the deal, AXA’s Deputy CEO, Denis Duverne said “Africa is home to some of the most dynamic and promising insurance markets in the world and our partnership with Africa Internet Group will enable us to accelerate materially our development by having access to their extremely rich customer base and to their state-of-the-art e-commerce technology.”
Africa Internet Group was founded in 2012 and counts Millicom International Cellular and MTN Group among its larger partner investors. The largest company in its portfolio is Jumia, the online retailer, which operates in 11 markets and reportedly recorded a transaction volume of €206 million in the first 9 months of 2015, a 265% increase on the previous year.