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Farfetch Gets $250 Million Investment From Tencent and Dragoneer

The luxury online marketplace says it will use the money to expand in China.
Farfetch logo | Source: Shutterstock
By
  • Chavie Lieber

NEW YORK, United States — Farfetch said on Thursday it has raised $250 million from WeChat owner Tencent and investment firm Dragoneer, money the online luxury marketplace says it will use to expand, and to push its presence in China.

Each company is investing $125 million in convertible senior notes issued by Farfetch, which can be later converted into stock; the notes mature in 2025.

The London-based fashion e-commerce platform said its latest round of funding would be used to help the company with its global growth ambitions — and specifically expand its efforts in China as it looks to reach profitability. In November, Farfetch Chief Financial Officer Elliot Jordan said the company could be operating in the black as soon as next year.

Farfetch and Tencent already had a relationship, as the shopping platform is bringing dozens of luxury Western brands to Chinese customers on WeChat, the popular social media platform. Social shopping on messaging platforms like WeChat is huge in China and Tencent President Martin Lau said in a statement on Thursday that the company is eager to "support [Farfetch] as it accelerates its growth in China."

“Tencent’s deep technology expertise and ongoing relationship with Farfetch, paired with Dragoneer’s expertise in supporting growth-oriented technology companies, makes both investors outstanding partners to support Farfetch’s next chapter of growth,” Jose Neves, Farfetch founder and chief executive said in a statement. San Francisco-based Dragoneer has previously invested in tech companies like Airbnb, Etsy, Slack, Spotify, and Uber.

Shares of Farfetch were up 14 percent on Thursday morning.

Farfetch is competing in a crowded market for luxury e-commerce, facing off with Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion and potentially Amazon, along with brands selling through their own websites. Farfetch operates much like Amazon in that it is a marketplace where brands and shops can list items for sale (Net-a-Porter and Matches are wholesale retailers, buying their own inventory).

Since it went public in September 2018, Farfetch has made several acquisitions, including the secondhand streetwear marketplace Stadium Goods as well as Off-White backer New Guards Group, which bought Opening Ceremony earlier this month.

Some analysts and investors are sceptical of Farfetch’s growth plans, as the company has made a series of unexpected acquisitions and has yet to turn a profit. In November, the company reported a smaller-than-expected third-quarter after-tax loss of $85.5 million. Bernstein analyst Luca Solca in August described the marketplace as a “platform on a collision course,” relying too heavily on discounts to gain market share.

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