LONDON, United Kingdom — Cie. Financiere Richemont SA agreed to merge its Net-a-Porter online fashion retail unit with Italian rival Yoox SpA.
Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, said: “We are proud of Net-A-Porter’s achievements under the leadership of Natalie Massenet, ably assisted by a wonderful team of professionals. Established business models are being increasingly disrupted by the technological giants. 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.”
Richemont will own 50 percent of the combined company, to be called Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, the Geneva-based owner of the Cartier and Chloe brands said in a statement Tuesday. It will be traded on the Italian stock exchange.
Yoox Net-a-Porter plans a capital increase of as much as 200 million euros ($216 million) after the transaction to raise funds for expansion and gain new shareholders, said Richemont, which will participate. Richemont said it expects a one-time gain of about 317 million euros from the transaction.
The deal will bring together two former rivals (Yoox’s founder, Federico Marchetti, will be chief executive officer and Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter will become executive chairman) who started their pioneering luxury companies long before the luxury internet goldrush.
Federico Marchetti said: "This is a game-changing merger between two pioneering companies that have already radically transformed the marketplace since 2000 and will now shift the industry paradigm once again. Together, we plan to expand on our many combined successes and industry breadth to strengthen partnerships with the world's leading luxury brands and harness a significant untapped growth potential.”
Natalie Massenet said: “Today, we open the doors to the world’s biggest luxury fashion store. It is a store that never closes, 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.”
By: Thomas Mulier with additional reporting by BoF