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BERLIN (Reuters) - Online food takeaway firm Delivery Hero is set to float before the summer break in a deal valuing one of Europe's biggest start-ups at up to 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion), people close to the matter said on Tuesday.
Delivery Hero, the start-up in the portfolio of e-commerce investor Rocket Internet (RKET.DE) seen as most likely to go public next, plans to announce its intention to list in Frankfurt by mid-June with an IPO four weeks later, they said.
Rocket Internet shares, which have been under pressure over concerns about heavy losses and falling valuations at its start-ups, were 4 percent higher at 1335 GMT (9:35 a.m. ET), making them one of the top gainers on the German small-cap index .SDAXI.
Rocket, which reports first-quarter results on May 31, had early success with online fashion firm Zalando (ZALG.DE), which listed in 2014 and has performed well since. But the e-commerce investor pulled the flotation of meal box start-up HelloFresh in 2015 and has not brought any other companies to market yet.
Earlier on Tuesday, Delivery Hero Chief Executive Niklas Ostberg said the company was ready for a possible initial public offering but declined to comment further on timing or valuation.
"We can go at any point in time if we feel it is the right time," Ostberg told reporters on a conference call.
One of the sources said about a quarter of the company's shares would be sold in the deal, which could value the company at 3.5 billion euros to 4 billion euros.
Another source said shares worth up to 1 billion euros would be sold, with about half that amount coming from new shares.
Delivery Hero said Tuesday its first-quarter revenue rose 68 percent on a like-for-like basis to 121 million euros. The loss-making firm did not publish earnings figures but Ostberg said it was on track to improve profitability as it grows bigger.
"With size comes profitability and our focus is on building size and service levels," he said, adding that he did not rule out further acquisitions.
The Berlin-based company founded in 2011 delivers meals from more than 150,000 restaurants in over 40 countries and employs upwards of 5,000 staff.
Earlier this month, Delivery Hero raised 387 million euros by issuing new shares to South African media and e-commerce firm Naspers (NPNJn.J), diluting Rocket's stake to 33 percent from just under 38 percent.
The biggest international players in online food takeaway - Delivery Hero, Just Eat (JE.L) and Takeaway.com (TKWY.AS) - have been raising capital or swapping assets to bulk up as Uber [UBER.UL] and Amazon (AMZN.O) push into meal delivery.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citi are organising the Delivery Hero listing as global coordinators with UBS, Unicredit, Jefferies and Berenberg acting as bookrunners, the sources said.
The banks declined to comment.
Additional reporting by Alexander Hübner; editing by David Clarke