3i led syndicate invests 7m in PriceMinister expansion

02 Mar 2005

Nicolas Dufourcq, Eric Archambeau and Jean-David Chamboredon join the PriceMinister board of directors to assist with expansion plans

3i, Europe's leading venture capital firm, today announces a 3i-led investment in PriceMinister, France's leading online marketplace e-commerce service, alongside a syndicate comprising 3i, Quilvest and private investors.

This new money will allow PriceMinister to:

· Expand outside France, mainly via the launch of offices in Spain and Italy in 2005

· Foster its development within France with the launch of initiatives including the « car category » in April 2005, aiming to become the market's leading e-commerce player in France by 2007

In addition, PriceMinister's board of directors welcomes Nicolas Dufourcq, former CEO of Wanadoo and current CFO of Capgemini, Eric Archambeau, experienced entrepreneur and Silicon Valley technology investor and Jean-David Chamboredon, 3i director and Head of 3i's French Venture Capital team.

Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, co-founder and CEO of PriceMinister, said : « We are very pleased with this investment and the strengthening of our board. With the expertise and talent offered by them, we are able to put our ambitions more rapidly into action, aiming to become one of Europe's e-commerce leaders via expansion of our multi-specialist e-commerce service in Spain and Italy.».

Jean-David Chamboredon, 3i director, added : « PriceMinister has had some outstanding achievements since its creation. Thanks to a pure Internet business model, they are now at the epicentre of a growing community of users who sell and buy at the best price in total confidence and security. This presents a win-win-win proposition for the buyer, the seller and PriceMinister.»

PriceMinister expects to see a continued triple digit rate of growth over the next 2 years and envisages becoming an IPO candidate in the future.

Notes to editors

About PriceMinister

Founded in August 2000 by Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, Pierre Krings, Justin Ziegler and Olivier Mathiot, PriceMinister is a European online marketplace leader via its website www.PriceMinister.com which was launched in January 2001. PriceMinister is ranked number three in France for e-commerce with 2,5 million members and more than 9 million items on sale. Its strength lies in offering consumers and professionals unrivalled choice from over 9 million available consumer goods, at the best prices on the Internet, supported by efficient, available customer service.

About 3i

3i is a world leader in early stage venture capital investing across Europe, in the United States and Asia Pacific. The company has been investing in technology since the 1970s and is focused in four specialist sectors: Communications, Software, Electronics and Healthcare and recently won Investor AllStars "VC Fund of the Year" award. 3i was Europe's most active VC investor during 2004 having invested €108 million in early stage technology companies in the 6 months to 30 September 2004. Examples of 3i's successes in the software sector include a host of international investments in Hotsip, Sulake, ViStorm, Mindjet and many others. For more information, go to www.3i.com

For more information, please contact 

Rachel Richards, 3i press office, Tel :  020 7975 3573, Email : rachel_richards@3i.com