Deezer to start German operation in coming weeks, CEO says

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Deezer to start German operation in coming weeks, CEO says

SAO PAULO Reuters -- French music-streaming platform Deezer SA will begin its German operation in the coming weeks as the newly listed company pushes its market expansion plans with a focus on securing local partnerships, CEO Jeronimo Folgueira told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Folgueira, who became CEO a year ago, said the company wants to replicate its strategy in Brazil in other countries, but for now it will focus only on a handful. I think in Brazil we were able to replicate the model we have done in France, which is that we enter the market with big strategic partners like TIM, Globo and Mercado Libre, which really helps us get scale, he said.

Germany is the next country on the company's list, with a local partnership with RTL Group.

We are going to launch Deezer inside the RTL app, and that's going to happen in the next few weeks. Folgueira said that it will give us very strong entry into the German market.

We expect that Germany to be the growth driver of the company for the next few years. We are looking to replicate that successful French and Brazilian model. In July, Deezer - one of France's first so-called unicorns - took the leap on a long-awaited initial public offering IPO, which analysts saw as a bold move given the current global economic situation.

The company's shares fell by as much as 59% in the days following the flotation, before paring some of the losses.

The strength of the business and industry is shown by the fact that we were able to raise 143 million euros in the current situation, according to Folgueira.

Deezer, founded in 2007 just a year after Spotify, had contemplated entering the stock market for years. Market conditions made it postponing previous IPO plans in 2015.

Folgueira said the IPO needed to raise capital to execute Deezer's expansion plans, and the company was stable enough to do so, and it wanted to create liquidity for some of its investors and open room for potential M&A down the road. The CEO said they will consider expanding into other markets, like the U.S. and the U.K., where the company has little presence.

For us to really grow big, we need to find a way of entering and cracking those markets.