Clone Kings Rocket Internet Close Turkey Office, Webrazzi Says

Berlin-based Internet-development company Rocket Internet is shutting down its offices in Turkey and began firing some of its 400 workers today, Turkish technology blog Webrazzi reported.

The company may sell off some of its web businesses in the country, Webrazzi said, citing a Rocket executive it didn’t name. No reason was given for the exit.

Rocket, owned by German brothers Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer, generally copies promising Internet businesses in the U.S. and offers them internationally. The company’s Zappos.com Inc. clone, Zalando GmbH, is estimated to be worth $1 billion by Financial Times Deutschland.

The company’s venture capital fund, European Founders Fund, invested in European knockoffs of Facebook Inc. and Google Inc.’s YouTube, which sold for $112 million and $36 million, respectively.

Andreas Winiarski, head of public relations for Rocket in Germany, did not immediately respond to calls or an e-mail seeking comment.