Net-a-Porter, Yoox to merge

After weeks of speculation, corporate luxury retailer Richemont has revealed a plan to merge its trendy online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter with rival Yoox.

The two companies will be tied together in a deal settled entirely by shares with Richemont retaining a 50 per cent interest in the new business.

Tuesday’s announcement ended weeks of speculation on Net-a-Porter’s future, which at one point included claims Amazon was going to take it over – a rumour swift denials failed to subdue.

A merged Net-a-Porter, Yoox would have had combined revenues of almost £1 billion last year and the combined entity has an estimated value in excess of £1.8 billion.

While Yoox shareholders still have to approve the merger plan in June, it’s hard to see grounds by which the plan might be scuttled given the huge market penetration the two brands have in the fashion space.

The deal is scheduled to be settled in September and the new business will be listed on Italy’s stock exchange, Borsa Italia, where Yoox is currently traded as a public company.

Under the plan, Yoox founder and CEO Federico Marchetti will head the combined business and Natalie Massenet, Net-a-Porter’s founder and executive chairman will serve as executive chairman of the new business.

In a statement, Massenet said the business was “a store that never closes”.

“[It’s] 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.”

Richemont chairman Johann Rupert said his company believes 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.”

Yoox was launched in 2000 and sells fashion online in China, Hong Kong, Europe, the US and Hong Kong.

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