Yoox, the global internet retailing partner for renowned fashion brands, has entered into an agreement with Richemont, controlling shareholder of the Net-a-Porter Group, on the terms of an all-share merger. The announcement comes after circulating rumours that last week that Amazon was considering a purchase of Net-a-Porter, which the internet retailer was quick to deny.
Following a month of activity in the high-end online market, the transaction between the two purveyors of luxury goods would create the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group, an independent online retailer, with combined 2014 net revenues of almost £1bn.
The new online fashion giant could be a company valued at over £1.8bn although the deal is conditional on the agreement of Yoox shares at a June 2015 meeting. If all goes to plan, completion will happen by September this year and the new company will be listed on the Borsa Italiana, where Yoox currently trades as a public company. Federico Marchetti, Founder and CEO of YOOX, will be the CEO of YOOX Net-A-Porter Group.
Today, the doors to “the world’s biggest luxury fashion store” have been opened, comments Natalie Massenet, Founder and Executive Chairman of Net-A-Porter, who will serve as Executive Chairman of YOOX Net-A-Porter Group.
“It is a store that never closes,” she continues, “a store without geographical borders, a store that connects with, inspires, serves and offers millions of style-conscious global consumers access to the finest designer labels in fashion. A store that provides established and emerging brands with the greatest interactive shop window to the world. Together, with our world-class teams in technology, logistics, content and commerce we are redefining the fashion media and retail landscape. The best way to predict the future of fashion is to create it.”
At a time when there is increasing online competition between purveyors of high-end goods, the deal will combine two complementary businesses covering all key geographic luxury markets and customer segments. The proposed merger will be accessed by over 2m high-spending customers and over 24m unique visitors worldwide. Upon completion, the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group intends to launch a capital increase of up to £145m to fund future growth opportunities and the integration, potentially allow for the entry of strategic investors.
“Established business models are being increasingly disrupted by the technological giants,” adds Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert. “It is with this in mind that we believe it is important to increase leadership and size to protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry. The merger of the two leaders will further enhance an independent, neutral platform for a sophisticated clientele looking for luxury brands.”
Launched in 2000, Yoox is a multi-brand online fashion store with operations in China, Europe, the U.S. China and Hong Kong.
Net-a-Porter was founded the same year, with Richemont acquiring a majority stake in for around £225m. Shares in the conglomerate slipped after it released a statement confirming the talks, while Yoox’s rose.