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Superbalist, the design-focused ecommerce store formerly known as Citymob, is on the verge of being bought out by South African ecommerce giant Takealot. At least that’s according to multiple reliable sources with close ties to the players involved.
Takealot CEO Kim Reid refused to comment on whether or not an acquisition was taking place. If an acquisition is in the works, it would mean that Reid and the Takealot board have had a serious change of heart since news broke of the US$100-million cash boost it got from Tiger Global earlier this year.
“We have no acquisition plans,” he told Ventureburn at the time. Instead he said that the company was focused on organic growth in South Africa.
When we contacted Superbalist meanwhile, the company said: “Our comment withstands, we do not comment on speculation”.
Superbalist was founded in 2010, starting out life as Citymob. Back then, the ecommerce outfit was just the latest in a series of companies to hop on the group-buying bandwagon. When it became clear there wasn’t all that big a future there, it pivoted to become a design flash-sales site.
Founded by Luke Jedeikin, Claude Hanan and Daniel Solomon, the site relaunched as Superbalist in 2013, with the name designed to better reflect the high-end design niche it was now playing in.
A few months earlier Wantitall — one of the bigger players in the South African ecommerce space — invested in it as an equity partner.
The investment was, at least in part, designed to up Superbalist’s logistical capabilities while at the same time allowing it to bring its own quality brand, website, user experience and products to Wantitall’s table.
It’s unclear how a Takealot buyout would affect this deal, especially given that Wantitall is a direct, albeit smaller, competitor to Takealot.
This would not be Takealot’s first acquisition in the South African space either. In 2011, the Tiger Global backed company bought out Mr Delivery to help strengthen its own logistical capabilities and allow it to provide same-day deliveries.
Ventureburn will update the story as more details emerge.