Richemont shopping spree sees it snapping up all of Yoox Net-A-Porter

Richemont seems to have made its mind up about its involvement in luxury online retail and it’s taking decisive action with a deal that will make it full owner of Yoox Net-A-Porter for €2.8bn. 


YNAP had a great Christmas and now it's getting an even bigger gift with a major cash injection from Richemont - Net-A-Porter


Less than three years ago, the luxury giant sold its stake in the Net-A-Porter business to Yoox with the deal seeing Richemont owning around 75% of the newly-merged, listed group.

It’s now offering €38 a share for the stocks it doesn’t already own and that price is over 25% above YNAP’s closing share price on Friday so we’re talking about a premium valuation for the business.

Barring unforeseen issues, the deal will actually happen, with Richemont saying that an irrevocable undertaking to accept the offer has been received from Federico Marchetti, CEO of YNAP.

Richemont would have been prevented from increasing its share of the group under the deal it struck when YNAP was formed in March 2015. But YNAP has waived that 'standstill obligation’ clause. 
Once the deal goes through, YNAP will no longer be a listed company.

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION

The takeover will transform Richemont’s business that has previously been seen as being about high-end watches and jewellery, as well as individual fashion and lifestyle labels such as including Chloé, Alaïa and Lancel.

Not that YNAP will be merged into Richemont itself. The firm would continue to operate it as a separate company, which is no surprise given how buoyant treading at the business has been in recent periods. Trading has improved at Richemont itself too, but has still been less stable in recent years than YNAP where sales have continued on an almost-uninterrupted upward curve.

Marchetti said in a statement that Richemont wants to build on that growth with extra investment in a raft of areas such as tech, logistics, marketing and staff.


YNAP's luxury operations will be a sales boost for Richemont - Yoox Net-A-Porter


Richemont meanwhile added that it sees a meaningful opportunity to strengthen further YNAP's leading positioning in luxury e-commerce, “growing the business in existing and new geographies, increasing product availability and range, and continuing to develop unparalleled services and content for today's highly discerning consumers.”

WIDER LUXURY E-TAIL

The takeover will certainly raise the stakes in the online luxury retail sector where Farfetch is also expanding organically and through acquisition. It acquired Browns and the Condé Nast e-tail business formerly known as style.com, and other high-end physical store chains are also ramping up their online operations.

YNAP is benefitting from some of these activities as it operates the e-stores for labels including Armani and Isabel Marant. But competition is heating up. Many other luxury names are opening their own e-stores, physical department store chains are putting major investment into their webstores and smaller local boutique businesses are pursuing faster growth through online ops.

Interestingly, given that Farfetch is arguably YNAP’s biggest competitor, it’s mulling a giant stock exchange listing that will provide it with a vast pool of investment cash, just as YNAP is planning to de-list and get its own investment cash through private sources.

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